The Runner Sports

ALDS Game 1: Astros’ Sales Resistance, Altuve’s 3 Bombs Derail Red Sox, 8-2

Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Thursday, began as a clash of the titans, with the Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander going toe to toe with the Boston Red Sox’s Chris Sale.

It quickly turned into the Jose Altuve show, as the Astros’ MVP candidate second baseman clobbered three mammoth home runs –two off Sale– as the Astros used a formula similar to many regular season games to upend the Sox, 8-2 at Minute Maid Park.

Verlander, in his 17th career postseason start, lasted 6 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, while striking out 3, as Houston utilized four relievers to close it out, while the offense pounded the Sox into submission, an offensive/pitching combo fate suffered by many of Houston’s 2017 opponents.

Third baseman, Alex Bregman, fearlessly sent a Sale offering over the Crawford Boxes in left to kick off the scoring. Altuve back-to-backed him with his first dinger of the day to stake the Astros to a quick 2-0 lead.

Sale worked hard, throwing 23 pitches in each of the first two innings, reaching 50 pitches early in the third. By contrast, Verlander didn’t reach 52 pitches until he finished his portion of the third inning.

Altuve’s second blast off Sale happened with 2 out in the 5th, as the 5’5″, 160-pound batting champ turned the pitch around to the tune of 108.5 mph exit velocity.

Houston left fielder and regular season RBI leader (90), Marwin Gonzalez, pushed in the deciding two runs in the 4th, slapping a 2-out, 2-run double to right center, scoring DH Evan Gattis, who had doubled, and right fielder Josh Reddick, who singled.

A 2-run, bases-loaded single by catcher, Brian McCann, in the 6th took the score to 7-2, before Altuve became an equal-opportunity dinger bringer, in the 7th, by becoming only the ninth player in MLB history to hit 3 homers in a postseason game (10th time; Babe Ruth did it twice). This one came off Boston reliever, Austin Maddox.

Related: The Reluctant Legend: Jose Altuve and the Ty Cobb Connection

“Obviously three homers are really good,” the 5’5″, 160-pound dynamo told MLB Network following the win. “At the end of the day what matters is we won this game, we won the first game of the playoffs at home. I’m really proud of the way we played today. Everybody came out with a lot of energy. We played good defense. We swung the bat really good. This is the team we are, and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and play a good game, too.”

Houston outhit the Red Sox, 12-8.

Game 2 is Friday, at 1:05 (CT) at Minute Maid Park. LHP Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90) will go for Houston, while Boston will counter with LHP Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32), trying to even the best-of-five series.

Related: Passion, Purpose, Pride Propel Astros Into Playoffs

Brad Kyle

Brad Kyle

Brad Ramone with (L-R) Dee Dee, Johnny, and Joey Ramone, backstage at Houston's Liberty Hall, July, 1977.

Johnny, the Ramones' influential guitarist, who passed away in 2004 at 55, was an avid baseball and New York Yankees fan since childhood. He even once ranked baseball above rock'n'roll in a personal Top 10 List!

Like Johnny, my love for rock is only equaled by my love for baseball and my hometown Houston Astros, present and past!

At TRS, you'll get full Astros coverage, minor league peeks, player profiles, interviews, MLB historical perspective, and maybe a little rock'n'roll!
Brad Kyle