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.

But before leaving Minute Maid Park, the Red Sox surrounded the 43-year-old Cora in the clubhouse and heartily sang "happy birthday!" Wearing goggles and championship gear, the team saluted the first manager from Puerto Rico to lead a team to the World Series.

Cora was hired a year ago as he prepared to go to the Series as Houston's bench coach. He got the job a month after Hurricane Maria devastated his island homeland, and immediately went to work helping with relief efforts.

"I know right know for everything that we're going through as a nation, as a country, for me to stand up here with this trophy, I know there's a lot of people proud of me in Puerto Rico," he said.

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.

"We got four more wins. That was very, very special, absolutely. But we want more," Price

said.

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.

"That's awesome," he said. "I don't have to prepare myself for it in spring training on Feb. 20 or September when I've still got five regular-season starts. I don't have to answer that question anymore. And man, it feels good."

Price was warming in the bullpen as Game 4 ended, perhaps jeopardizing his readiness for Thursday. Instead, that session may have keyed his dominant performance.

"It felt good. Honestly, it really started last night in the bullpen. Threw quite a few pitches to come in for the next hitter, found something out while doing that and kind of just carried that over to today," Price said.

Price tipped his cap to a few hundred Red Sox fans assembled behind the Boston dugout while they cheered as he walked off the field following postgame interviews.

The only time thing that didn't go smoothly for Price came when he brought 1-year-old son Xavier into the postgame news conference and the little one wouldn't quit shrieking and wriggling away from him .

Price pulled him back onto his lap, repeating the words: "This is big, dude. This is big."

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.

The Red Sox are the first team to win four straight postseason games against a 100-win club since the 2004 Red Sox against both the Yankees and Cardinals, STATS said.

"Since Day One, we knew we had something special. We just needed to stay healthy and go out and execute," Bradley said.

Left fielder Andrew Benintendi caught a long fly for the last out — not nearly as dramatic as his game-saving diving grab the previous night. Just the same, it capped off a win.

"The last out yesterday was like around 12:10. So we won two on my birthday. I'll take it. I'll take it," Cora said.