Carlos Correa, George Springer Lead Astros To ALDS Game 1 Win Over Athletics

Photo: Karen Warren

The Houston Astros struggled against the Oakland Athletics during the regular season, winning just three games through 10 meetings, but they made up for that with a 10-5 victory in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Monday.

After dropping the early innings to the Athletics, who held a 4-3 lead after four innings thanks to three home runs off of starter Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros strung together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead.

George Springer’s RBI double in the top of the sixth inched the Astros within one, and Jose Altuve’s two-RBI double gave the visitors a lead they never relinquished. Michael Brantley brought Altuve in to make the lead 7-5 before the inning ended.

Oakland needed all three games to get past the Chicago White Sox in the Wild Card Round after it had previously dropped six straight playoff series dating back to 2006. Despite Oakland’s regular-season dominance over the Astros, Houston had the upper hand in Game 1.

Notable Performers

  • Carlos Correa, SS, Astros: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs
  • George Springer, CF, Astros: 4-for-5, 2B, HBP, run, RBI
  • Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, run
  • Khris Davis, DH, Athletics: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, run
  • Matt Olsen, 1B, Athletics: 1-for-3, BB, HR, RBI, 2 runs

McCullers Shakily Joins the Postseason

After missing the entire 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery, McCullers got 11 starts this season and put together a 3.93 ERA with a 3-3 record. He didn’t appear in the rotation as the Astros swiftly defeated the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Series and entered Monday’s game—his first postseason start since Game 7 of the 2017 World Series—with a 2.53 ERA through four postseason starts and 11 playoff outings.

“He’s plenty rested,” Astros coach Dusty Baker said before the game, per’s Brian McTaggart. “He’s been a big-game pitcher. He’s been here before, and he’s been throwing the ball great his last three starts.”

The 2017 All-Star and World Series champion had a shaky outing in his return to October baseball and his first start since Sept. 26. Through four innings, he allowed eight hits and four earned runs while fanning five and walking one. When he exited before the fifth inning, the Athletics held a 4-3 lead that came through three home runs off McCullers.

His Monday start at Dodger Stadium, the site of the AL Division Series, didn’t quite compare to his last two outings there. The 27-year-old led Houston to the 2017 World Series in his Game 7 outing in 2017, when he threw 2.1 innings, striking out three and hitting four batters while driving in a run. In 2018, he tossed four innings, during which he sustained the injury that led to his offseason surgery.

Where Was Oakland’s Bullpen? 

Throughout the regular season, the Athletics bullpen had the second-best ERA in baseball, posting a 2.72 average that shrunk by 1.29 at home. At Dodger Stadium on Monday, the relievers couldn’t get it done after Chris Bassitt exited his start after four innings, during which he allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out four.

Just one Oakland reliever lasted an inning—Yusmeiro Petit tossed one inning and fanned one before he gave way to six more from the bullpenJ.B. Wendelken, Jake Diekman and Lou Trevino combined to allow five hits and strike out just two through the next two innings, and Mike Minor, Jordan Weems, and T.J. McFarland controlled a cleanup effort.

The Astros bullpen offered more stability, with Blake Taylor tossing a scoreless inning before Enoli Paredes struck out two in two innings. Cristian Javier struck out two and walked one before Ryan Pressly closed it out.

What’s Next? 

The two teams will continue their best-of-five series on Tuesday, with first pitch at 4:37 p.m. ET. Sean Manaea will get the ball for Oakland in Game 2, while Framber Valdez starts on the hill for Houston.

Around Third

via Bleacher Report – Front Page

October 5, 2020 at 06:52PM

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