Red Sox glad ALCS begins at home

Brett Gardner

Alex Cora has heard enough about how his time as the Astros bench coach last season might help him as the Red Sox manager in this year's ALCS. There were 11 hits given up, two of them home runs, and opponents hit.183 against them.

"I think it has happened at times", Boone said Friday. After Andrew Benintendi's two-run homer put the Red Sox ahead, Sale allowed Bregman's tying home run leading off the eighth and a one-out single to Evan Gattis, who gave Houston the lead for good when he scored on Josh Reddick's single against Craig Kimbrel. Those two will be among the top three of most American League Cy Young Award ballots this year, along with Tampa's Chris Snell.

"Sockies, we need you guys to do this", Julian Edelman said. As for Sunday, both the Red Sox and the Patriots will be in action, with the Sox facing the Astros in Game 2 and the Patriots hosting the Kansas City Chiefs on "Sunday Night Football". This came after spending parts of three seasons with the Astros, with limited success. Who knows where I would have been?

He limited the damage from there and regained his footing by retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced, but with the Red Sox hoping for a vintage Sale outing, they instead found themselves trailing 2-0 against dominant Astros starter Justin Verlander with their bullpen on the hook for the final five innings.

Overall, the Sox have responded to the first-year manager, who replaced John Farrell after he was sacked after last year's first-round elimination. "Hopefully he keeps getting better and he'll be ready to go on Saturday".

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"I think you either want to be in the moment or you don't", Verlander said on Friday.

Verlander was stellar in Game 1 of the ALDS against Cleveland, giving up two hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings of work. He's the only pitcher in major league baseball history to make as many as 10 postseason starts and not win any of them. The ace vs. ace matchup has made the over-under for Game 1 just seven runs.

The Red Sox get it, but also believe they showed some prowess of their own by winning two in a row at Yankee Stadium to wrap up their ALDS in four. "He's feeling better", Cora said.

"They're strong at every spot, they've got a great starting rotation, their bullpen's good, they score runs, they're good defensively - very similar to our club", Dombrowski said.

Sale, who took the mound without long sleeves on the chilly night, left after the fourth inning - his only 1-2-3 inning of the game - having thrown 86 pitches. Cora insisted that he had faith in Price, and he told the 2012 AL Cy Young victor as much after the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees in the previous round.

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