HOUSTON - The Red Sox have claimed their fourth American League pennant of the new millennium, eliminating the defending World Series champion Houston Astros with a 4-1 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
David Price was masterful pitching on three days rest, tossing six shutout innings and striking out nine batters, a new postseason-best for the lefty. He allowed only three hits.
He went to one three-ball count in the 21 batters he faced.
Price took the win, his first October win as a starter.
Matt Barnes and Nathan Eovaldi bridged the gap to much-maligned closer Craig Kimbrel, who tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the series.
J.D. Martinez homered off Justin Verlander in the third, a solo shot off a hanging breaking ball. The Astros thought Verlander had Martinez struck out on the previous pitch, a slider that appeared to catch the bottom outside corner but was called a ball.
The Red Sox took full command in the sixth. Mitch Moreland led the inning off with a double. Ian Kinsler singled, sending Moreland to third. Rafael Devers then took Verlander deep to left to put Boston ahead 4-0.
Houston got on the board in the seventh inning on a solo home run by Marwin Gonzalez off Matt Barnes.
The Red Sox will now play either the Milwaukee Brewers or Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.