ALDS: Astros with Statement Win in Game One
Two home runs in the first inning! Have you read that line in the postseason yet? Fast starts and first frame runs are quickly becoming a common theme in the 2017 MLB playoffs and on Thursday afternoon, the Astros decided to join the dinger party. Alex Bregman got the Minute Maid crowd fired up with a solo shot off of Boston ace Chris Sale with one out in the first. That was just three pitches before Houston favorite Jose Altuve made it back to back shots with his first of three homers on the night.
Justin Verlander got the game one nod for the hometown Astros and retired the first four hitters he faced, but put himself into a bit of jam in the top of the second with back to back walks. Sandy Leon would eventually single a run home, but that solo score is all the Red Sox would push across until the top of the fourth when Rafael Devers got the tying run home on a sacrifice fly.
A pair of doubles and a single led to two more runs in the fourth for the Astros as they simply took the game over from that point on. Altuve would hit his second solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth and, with Sale still on the mound, Evan Gattis would smack his second double of the afternoon. Follow that up with a walk to Josh Reddick and that was enough for Sale. Yuli Gurriel and Brian McCann would both single off of Joe Kelly to charge two more runs to Sale before the sixth finally wrapped up.
The 7-2 lead wasn’t enough for potential AL MVP, Jose Altuve, as he put a bow on his outstanding game with his third solo shot in the seventh, you know, because the Astros really needed that insurance run.
It was a highly anticipated pitching matchup that didn’t play out exactly as everyone thought. You read about Sale’s struggles as his final line read 5 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 6 SO, 1 BB. Verlander didn’t have his best game as he found himself in a handful of tough spots, but he managed to pitch around them for the most part. Verlander’s final line read 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 SO, 2 BB.
Yes, Altuve was the player of the game as he became the ninth player in MLB history to hit three homers in a postseason game, but I don’t think you can overlook the Astros pitching in this one. Verlander provided a quality start and the bullpen, who I will admit I had my doubts about, combined for three innings of shutout, two hit ball.
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