LEADING OFF: Bregman stirs up ALCS, Grandal sits for Dodgers

COMING UP NEXT David Price throws on the field prior to Game 1 of the ALCS at Fenway Park Saturday night. Staff

Red Sox: Alex Cora's bullpen looked strong for the most in their Game 2 victory, but it remains a concern going forward.

Sunday's was a unusual game that featured nine runs and all sorts of drives launched off, over and beyond the classic green fences at Fenway in the first three innings, but not so much as another hit on either side until the bottom of the eighth. He retired Jose Altuve to lead off the inning and pitched around the unsafe Alex Bregman for a one-out walk.

Followers of the AL East talk about how the Red Sox and Yankees build to be sustainable contenders for years to come. Admittedly not at his sharpest, Price only had one clean inning but said the key was limiting the damage.

In his 11th try, Price didn't pick up his first win in a playoff start.

David Price was good enough, the Red Sox bullpen was even better, and Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered a go-ahead, three-run double off the Green Monster on Sunday night to lead Boston to a 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros and tie the AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

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While he wasn't able to earn that coveted W for his postseason resume, this was an encouraging outing from Price. As he left the field, many among the 37,960 Fenway Faithful offered up a standing ovation.

So who wins every playoff game? Cora would probably like to start Rick Porcello in Game 4, but if pressed will he turn to Porcello in relief as he did in Game 2 and in the ALDS against NY? But at least, now, he can say his team has won a postseason game he started. That's a streak that Price will no longer have to worry about extending.

"All bets are off right now", Porcello said in the pumped-up afterglow of Sunday's Game 2 win. His team prevailed in a must-win scenario.

"I've heard nothing but good things about him now", Eovaldi said. I understand the narratives and I deserve those.

"When I got to the ballpark they told me he was there". But this is bigger than David Price. "It's more than the Red Sox".

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Price was fine. He wasn't Madison Bumgarner, but he gave the Sox a chance. Being a part of a winning effort on this stage is a positive step that should alleviate some of the pressure he faces every October. "If it's baby steps, it's baby steps".

Price, whose postseason woes are well-publicized, pitched better than his line indicated. He wasn't as fortunate in the second inning, when Carlos Correa beat out an infield single on a misplay by shortstop Xander Bogaerts. When Betts gets on base, Martinez will have to cash in. The latest came in the ninth inning of Game 2, as the Astros' George Springer and Jose Altuve cracked back-to-back two-out doubles. Price made a good pitch that jammed Springer, only to suffer the misfortune of the ball falling in for a hit. That's what makes everybody a great player. A core of relievers that was a question mark entering the postseason put together another solid effort. The bullpen allowed only one hit in three innings to shut down Boston's powerful offensive attack.

With Price one out away from being eligible for the win, it seemed a cold-hearted move, but absolutely the right one.

Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start on Tuesday for Boston and Rick Porcello would be in line to take the ball for Wednesday's Game 4.

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