(Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox, riding another strong outing from starter David Price and a clutch hit from J.D. Martinez, seized command of the World Series with a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Martinez broke open a tie game when he hit a bases-loaded single that drove in a pair of runs to give the host Red Sox a lead they would not relinquish while Price pitched six innings of three-hit ball.
With the win, Boston grabbed a 2-0 lead in MLB’s best-of-seven final, which shifts to Los Angeles for games three and four on Friday and Saturday.
“It definitely feels good. But like I said before the playoffs, I would rather go winless and we win a World Series than me go 4-0 or 5-0 and we lose,” said Price.
“We’re playing good baseball right now but that’s a very good team over there so we need to go to L.A. and not make it come back to Boston.”
History is on Boston’s side as teams that have won the first two games of Major League Baseball’s showcase have gone on to win the series 80 percent of the time.
Price, who in his last outing finally got a postseason win as a starter for the first time in 12 tries, was sharp again as he held the Dodgers to just two runs to earn the win.
The Dodgers, who lost consecutive games for the first time this postseason, were denied any chance of mounting a comeback as Price and the Red Sox bullpen combined to retire the final 16 batters they faced.
Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin, making his first appearance at Fenway Park, was tagged for six hits and four runs in 4-2/3 innings before leaving the game with the bases loaded.
Ryu had retired seven consecutive batters but then allowed three straight batters to reach base with two outs before Ryan Madson replaced him and issued a five-pitch walk with the bases loaded before allowing Martinez’s bloop single to right field.
The Red Sox, who boast the highest-scoring offense in Major League Baseball and are 9-0 this postseason when scoring first, got on the board early when Ian Kinsler scored a run with a two-out single to left field in the second inning.
Los Angeles pulled ahead in the fourth inning but squandered a chance to blow the game open as they only managed to cash in a pair of runs despite loading the bases with no outs.
“The difference is they got the big hit when they needed and we didn’t,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
The Red Sox, who are undefeated on the road this postseason, now head West needing two more wins to secure their fourth World Series title in 15 seasons. If needed, Game Five would be in Los Angeles while Boston would host the remainder of the series.
Los Angeles, competing in the World Series for a second straight season after falling just short in Game 7 a year ago, may have their backs against the wall but are not about to panic.
“We didn’t get the hits that they got but we had baserunners,” said Roberts. “And the difference is they got a couple of hits with runners in scoring position and we didn’t, and now we’re down 0-2.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty