The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Sunday night's Game 5 of the 2018 World Series. The Red Sox are, once again, world champions. This is their ninth title in franchise history, and their fourth since 2004. Add in Boston's 108 regular-season wins, and their convincing dismissals of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros in the earlier rounds, and this has been one of the most impressive team seasons in recent memory.
Here's what you need to know about Game 5.
David Price entered this postseason facing the narrative that he couldn't perform well in the postseason. The numbers supported that notion, with Price's teams going winless in his first 10 postseason starts, including Game 2 of the ALDS.
Price has since chipped away at that narrative. Sure, his start in ALCS Game 2 wasn't great -- he gave up four runs in 4 ⅔ innings -- but he'd go on to deliver six shutout innings in an ALCS Game 5 win. In Game 2 of the World Series, he delivered another quality start. He then pitched in relief in Game 3, retiring two of the four batters he faced.
On Sunday, Price had arguably his best effort of the month. He threw seven innings, allowed one run (a lead-off home run to David Freese) on three hits and two walks and fanned five. He gave the Red Sox length when their gassed bullpen needed it, and gave their offense sufficient time to build a comfortable lead.
Basically, Price did what above-average starters are supposed to do. The only reason it was a surprise -- remember, he's been doing it in the regular season since 2010 -- is because postseason success has eluded him for most of his career. Just, it appears, not anymore.
Pearce comes up big again
Steve Pearce came through in Game 4 with a timely home run and double. He kept the good times rolling in Game 5, delivering a two-run first-inning homer to give Boston a 2-0 lead:
In the eighth, Pearce homered again -- this time off Pedro Baez to make it 5-1:
Pearce, who came over in a midseason deal from the Blue Jays, has played a ton this postseason due to Mitch Moreland's bum hamstring. It's funny to think, but that injury has turned out to be a blessing in disguise
Pearce has played quality defense at first base and entered the night with four extra-base hits and eight runs batted in over 12 playoff games. That'll work.
Kershaw just not enough
Clayton Kershaw pitched better in Game 5 than in Game 1. It just wasn't good enough to keep the Dodgers in it with their struggling offense.
Kershaw lasted seven innings, permitting four earned runs on seven hits (three of those home runs). He didn't walk and struck out five. Kershaw's three homers allowed did add to an unfortunate record he possesses:
Clayton Kershaw has allowed 6 HR in games with his team facing elimination, the most all-time— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 29, 2018
Certainly Kershaw didn't do enough to erase the narrative surrounding his postseason performances. But let's be clear: he wasn't the biggest contributor to the Dodgers' loss.
Betts and Martinez contribute
During the regular season, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez were two of the top offensive performers in the game. Betts, for his part, seems almost certain to win the AL MVP award.
Neither had been quite as potent in the World Series. Betts entered Sunday hitting .211/.318/.263 with one extra-base hit. (He hadn't homered in his first 13 postseason games.) Martinez was hitting .214/.353/.286 with one extra-base hit as well. Both, naturally, found a way to do something worthwhile Sunday.
Betts hit a solo home run to push the score to 3-1:
And Martinez later added a solo homer of his own to make it 4-1:
Sometimes you just have to play the hits. When we reflect on this team, we won't remember World Series slumps from Betts and Martinez. We will remember them as two of the top reasons why they were in this position -- and, additionally, two of the reasons why they won Game 5.
Freese homers, triples
David Freese seems to like World Series elimination games. Back in 2011, his efforts kept the St. Louis Cardinals alive against the Texas Rangers. He couldn't do it alone on Sunday, but that didn't keep him from trying.
Freese collected two hits against Price, homering to lead off the bottom of the first and later "tripling" on a Martinez gaffe in right field. Predictably, that earned him a place in history:
At this point, we may as well call the homer-triple combination in a World Series elimination game a "Freese." Hey, we're as surprised as anyone that it's come to this.
History says ….
Teams who go up 4-1 in a best-of-seven series have won the series 100 percent of the time. (Just a little humor for regular readers of our postseason recaps, folks.)
The Red Sox will likely host their championship parade later in the week. So far as the next baseball game, there's action going on in the Arizona Fall League and the Korean Baseball Organization. Soon all kinds of winter ball leagues will begin play. There's baseball out there to be followed and enjoyed. Just not Major League Baseball's brand. Don't fear -- it'll return in 2019. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from the Red Sox vs. Dodgers. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please .
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