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Sale not ready to pitch for Red Sox in Game 5 of ALCS

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By STEPHEN HAWKINS

AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale was still feeling weak Wednesday and won't start Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Sale threw in the outfield for 10-15 minutes before Game 4 in Houston, but manager Alex Cora said the seven-time All-Star didn't throw a bullpen as planned. David Price will start Thursday night on three days' rest instead.

Cora said Sale lost some weight because of a stomach illness that forced him to spend a night in the hospital after the lanky left-hander started the ALCS opener against the Astros.

"He's feeling better compared to yesterday, but physically he's not there yet," Cora said before Game 4. "So I think if necessary he'll pitch Game 6. He feels that he'll be ready for that one. And we'll go from there."

With Price warming up in the bullpen in case he was needed in relief, the Red Sox held on for an 8-6 victory Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6, if necessary, would be Saturday night in Boston.

Dave Dombrowski, the team's president of baseball operations, said Sale told him "he's fine and he'll be ready to go on Saturday."

Cora said there's "no chance" Sale will pitch in any situation in Game 5.

Price was the Game 2 starter, when he allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings and didn't get a decision in Boston's 7-5 victory that evened the series. Available out of the bullpen, the lefty was getting loose late Wednesday night but didn't come into the game.

"I think it'll just make me a little bit more sharp for tomorrow. Might have found a new thing for me to do the day before I pitch," Price said.

"To have that opportunity to punch our ticket to the World Series is very cool," he said.

Sale did not speak to reporters Wednesday.

Cora said earlier this week that Sale started feeling ill right after Game 1 and went to a hospital early Sunday morning.

Sale was released Monday from Massachusetts General Hospital after remaining there overnight for observation. He rejoined the team Tuesday in Houston before Game 3.

The club hasn't specified Sale's ailment or treatment, though Cora has said it was nothing serious.

Sale struggled with his control in Boston's 7-2 home loss to the Astros on Saturday night. He allowed two runs, four walks and hit a batter in four innings.

The lefty made just one start between July 27 and Sept. 11 because of mild left shoulder inflammation, then made four starts during the rest of the regular season. He beat the Yankees in the Division Series opener and pitched one inning of relief in Game 4 as the Red Sox won the best-of-five series.

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Updated October 18, 2018

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