HOUSTON (AP) — What a birthday present for rookie manager Alex Cora. He's taking the Boston Red Sox back to the World Series.

David Price put his postseason woes behind him, pitching the Red Sox past the defending champion Houston Astros 4-1 Thursday night in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Next stop for the 108-win Red Sox is Fenway Park for the World Series opener Tuesday night against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers.

Cora was hired a year ago as he prepared to go to the Series as Houston's bench coach.

Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer as the Red Sox stunned Justin Verlander to win the best-of-seven set 4-1.

ALCS MVP Jackie Bradley Jr. , outfielder Mookie Betts and the Red Sox will try to bring Boston its fourth crown in 15 years — this is their first trip since winning it all in 2013.

Los Angeles has a 3-2 lead in the NLCS going into Game 6 on Friday night at Miller Park.

Pitching on only three days' rest after Boston ace Chris Sale was ruled out while recovering from a stomach illness, Price struck out nine in six shutout innings of three-hit ball . The left-hander, who has had a rough time in Boston since signing a $217 million contract before the 2016 season, entered 0-9 with a 6.16 ERA in 11 career postseason starts.

Price was thrilled that he won't be questioned anymore about not having a postseason win as a starter.

 

After dropping the opener at home, Boston took four straight — including three in a row in Houston to improve to 5-0 on the road in these playoffs.

 

 

 

 

Verlander had pitched 24 scoreless innings over his previous three starts with his team facing postseason elimination, and he came in 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA in five potential elimination games during his career.

 

Devers, who turns 22 on Wednesday, has 12 RBIs in 10 postseason games. He joined Mickey Mantle, Andruw Jones and Miguel Cabrera as the only players in major league history to have nine or more RBIs in the postseason at age 21 or younger.