Major League Baseball
Preview
Boston at Houston
When: 8:09 PM ET, Thursday, October 18, 2018
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

The Boston Red Sox look to clinch a berth in the World Series for the first time since 2013 when they visit the Houston Astros for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Thursday. Andrew Benintendi made a game-saving diving catch of Alex Bregman's liner to left field with the bases loaded for the final out of Wednesday's dramatic 8-6 triumph.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 4, giving him two blasts and nine RBIs over his last three games. "I'm just trying to stay within itself," Bradley said in a postgame television interview, "(and) get good pitches to swing at and make contact." The Astros were hurt Wednesday by a controversial fan-interference call that turned Jose Altuve's would-be two-run, first-inning homer to right field into an out as Boston's Mookie Betts reached above the fence to try and catch the ball. "Once the fan reaches past that line of the fence, we're going to penalize hitters every time," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said in his postgame press conference regarding the call by right-field umpire Joe West. "Joe saw the play as interference. He called that on the field. When they went to replay, they confirmed it. There's no mechanism for me to change their minds, change their interpretation, change the fact that I thought the ball was a row or two in the stands."

TV: 8:09 p.m. ET, TBS

PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (0-1, 9.95 ERA) vs. Astros RH Justin Verlander (2-0, 3.18)

Price warmed up during the final two innings of Game 4 but wasn't used as he draws the start in Game 5 after ace Chris Sale (stomach) was ruled out as a possibility on Wednesday. "We're good with him," Boston manager Alex Cora said of Price in his postgame press conference. "He's prepared. He understands what's going on, he understands that Chris can't go (Thursday) and he's ready to take the ball." The 33-year-old Price is 0-9 in 11 career postseason starts following a no-decision in Game 2 in which he gave up four runs and five hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Verlander defeated the Red Sox in Game 1, giving up two runs and two hits over six innings. The 35-year-old stated he doesn't see an issue with facing a team a second time in a series, but he still will tinker with his game plan. "Especially (against) these guys, a team that's really good at making adjustments, making adjustments quickly," Verlander said during his press conference. "There are definitely unique challenges. They know my strengths. They know my weaknesses. I know theirs."

WALK-OFFS

1. Sale tentatively is slated to start a potential Game 6 at home on Saturday.

2. Houston CF George Springer belted his first homer of the series in Game 4 and is a stellar 13-for-31 with four blasts in the team's seven postseason contests.

3. Boston RHP Craig Kimbrel recorded the first six-out save of his career on Wednesday but allowed one run, two hits and three walks while notching one strikeout.

PREDICTION: Red Sox 7, Astros 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Boston 114-56 W3 59-26 55-30 55-25 19-14 24-13 16-4
Houston 107-62 L3 48-37 59-25 20-18 28-7 46-30 13-7
Last Meeting
Boston Houston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
10/17/18 BOS 8 HOU 6 .297 1 .921 .333 2 1.025
Player Stats
AL  Championship Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Boston M. Moreland .500 1 1.250
Houston G. Springer .412 7 1.265
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Boston J. Bradley Jr. 2 3 9
Houston Y. Gurriel 1 3 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Boston 4.75 .235 31
Houston 5.91 .234 31
Playoffs
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Boston M. Moreland .400 2 .971
Houston G. Springer .419 13 1.374
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Boston J. Bradley Jr. 2 5 9
Houston G. Springer 4 6 8
Pitching ERA Avg K
Boston 4.12 .257 62
Houston 4.21 .274 61