BOSTON — No matter how often David Price came up short, no matter how frequently he looked in the mirror to search for answers to his playoff shortcomings, he kept getting back on the mound.
If there was a cloud around him, it never darkened his mood.
“I always enjoy doing this,” he said. “Just because I failed in October for about nine straight years, it didn’t take away my passion from baseball. This is something I fell in love with whenever I was 2 years old.”
This October is getting easier and easier for Price to love. After pitching the Boston Red Sox into the World Series last week, he put them halfway to a title on Wednesday with six strong innings in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The victory gave the Red Sox a two-games-to-none lead as the Series heads to the West Coast this weekend, putting them halfway to their fourth title in the last 15 seasons.
The Red Sox, while riding Price and another sterling effort from their bullpen, also flashed the relentless, high-contact, low-strikeout offense that carried them to a franchise-record 108 victories in the regular season and helped them dispatch the Yankees and the defending champion Houston Astros in the American League playoffs.
All four of Boston’s runs on Wednesday were pushed across with two out, including an outburst in the fifth that seemed to be conjured out of thin air.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers’ left-handed starter, had set down seven in a row — including the first two batters in the fifth — while nursing a 2-1 lead. Then Christian Vazquez, the Red Sox’s No. 9 hitter, fell behind 0-2, fouled off a cutter, took a fastball for a ball and stroked a single to right.
Mookie Betts followed with a single to center and, after Andrew Benintendi worked an eight-pitch walk, the bases were loaded and Ryu was gone.
“Trying to be a tough out and not give them anything,” Benintendi said of the at-bat. “When we do that, things seem to work out that way.”
After Ryu departed, Ryan Madson, who had walked Steve Pearce on four pitches in Game 1, did it again — on five pitches this time, forcing in a run to tie the score, 2-2.
J. D. Martinez, who led the major leagues in runs batted in this season, followed by lining a single to right that scored Betts and Benintendi, and the Red Sox had all the runs they needed to leave Fenway Park with the Series momentum.
Once Price completed six innings — allowing two runs and three hits, walking three and striking out five — Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel buzzed through the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, retiring the Dodgers in order.
The Dodgers are surely eager to return to the far more welcoming environment at home. The weather will be balmy — the forecast for Friday is sunny with a high of 85 — and they will feel the warm embrace of their fans.
The Dodgers clearly had a hard time adjusting to the inhospitable elements in Boston. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt complained after Game 1 about the proximity of fans to the bullpen mound, and the weather — 47 degrees with a 12-mile-per-hour breeze at the start of Game 2 — left them chilled.
Los Angeles shortstop Manny Machado took grounders during batting practice with his throwing hand tucked inside his sweatshirt. On defense in the first inning, third baseman Justin Turner, second baseman Brian Dozier and Machado all kept their right hands in their back pockets between pitches, while first baseman David Freese windmilled his arms to stay loose.
Ryu, however, was not deterred by the frigid conditions early on.
He shrugged off a hiccup in the second inning, when Xander Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster with one out and Ian Kinsler brought him home with a crisp, two-out single to left.
It provided an early advantage for Price, who had not won a playoff game in 11 starts for Tampa Bay, Detroit, Toronto and Boston until breaking through with six shutout innings in the A.L.C.S. clincher at Houston.
The ensuing days, he said, had felt lighter. Though he had never ducked responsibility for his October performances — often revealing a degree of vulnerability — he admitted that Monday’s media day had been different.
“I got to look forward to it for the first time,” Price said on Tuesday. “Today it’s definitely a weight lifted off me, for sure. Not like food tastes better or anything like that, but it was time.”
The only trouble Price encountered was in the fourth, when the Dodgers ditched their usual plan to work counts and hunt for a pitch in a particular zone.
Freese led off by lining a single to right, and Machado followed with a sharp single to center. Chris Taylor then drew a walk, watching a couple of fastballs off the inner edge of the plate. Matt Kemp, just as Machado had, jumped on the first pitch — a changeup — and flied out to center, scoring Freese to tie the score at 1-1.
That set off activity in the Boston bullpen and set up a tense at-bat with Enrique Hernandez, who fouled off three consecutive 3-2 pitches until — just after a “Beat L.A.” chant from the crowd — he swung through a letter-high fastball. But then Yasiel Puig connected on the first pitch he saw for a single to center, scoring Machado and giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead with Taylor at third.
Price bounced back to strike out Austin Barnes and escape the jam.
“That’s what good pitchers do. He minimized the damage,” Kinsler said.
On his way off the mound, Price took a detour to home plate for a conversation with the umpire Kerwin Danley, presumably about several calls on pitches along the inside edge.
In past years, that might have signaled an unraveling, but not this October.