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Red Sox dethrone defending champion Astros to reach World Series

By AFP
media Boston's David Price pitched six shutout innings as the Red Sox dethroned the Houston Astros in five games to reach the 2018 World Series. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

David Price pitched six shutout innings and Rafael Devers clubbed a three-run homer as the Boston Red Sox booked a World Series berth with a 4-1 win over the defending champion Houston Astros.

Price overcame his postseason woes and the Boston offence delivered a pair of homers in support as the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant for the first time since 2013.

Devers hit his homer in the sixth and JD Martinez belted a towering solo shot in the third inning for Boston, who took the series by four games to one.

Left fielder Andrew Benintendi caught a long fly for the final out of the series for Boston, who ended an 86-year championship drought in 2004.

The Red Sox will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball's championship showcase. The Dodgers lead that series 3-2 with game six set for Friday in Milwaukee.

The Red Sox are back in the Fall Classic for the first time in five years. The last time they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. Boston will be seeking their fourth title in 15 years as they begin the World Series next Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Red Sox left hander Price threw six solid innings on Thursday, allowing just three hits in shutting out the Astros to earn his first victory in his 12th postseason appearance.

He was 0-9 with a ERA of 6.16 in his previous 11 playoff starts.

"We got four more wins. That was very, very special, absolutely. But we want more," Price said of the Red Sox who are 5-0 in road games this postseason.

Closer Craig Kimbrel took care of business in the ninth to record his fifth save of the playoffs.

Martinez opened the scoring with a 396-foot blast to left field for his second home run of the postseason in front of a crowd of 40,000 at Minute Maid Park. Devers, who turns 22 on Wednesday, also hit a homer to left which scored Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler. Devers has 12 RBIs in 10 playoff games.

Moreland got on base with a double to deep left field and Kinsler hit a single to right which moved Moreland over to third base.

Facing elimination, the Astros turned to their ace Justin Verlander. He had a solid performance in a game one win but struggled to contain the Red Sox potent offense on Thursday.

Verlander allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work.

The Astros were trying to become the first team to win back to back World Series titles since the New York Yankees won three consecutive beginning in 1998.

"They beat us. We ran out of wins," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

Boston rookie manager Alex Cora, who turned 43 on Thursday, became the first Puerto Rican skipper to take a team to the World Series.

"This is a great accomplishment but we still have work to do," said Cora, who also trying to be the fifth rookie manager to win a World Series.

 
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