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The American League Division Series opener featured the Chicago White Sox visiting the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park Thursday evening. What ensued was a routing that props up Houston to remain AL favorites for the postseason heading into the weekend and beyond.
Astros outfielder Jake Meyers, in his debut postseason appearance, brought in the first score of the evening after hitting down right field, sending Yordan Álvarez from third to home for the 1-0 lead. An RBI double off a deep hit by Álvarez in the bottom of the third put the Astros up, 3-0, as the barrage of offense kept the White Sox dugout on edge.
On the mound for the Astros, ace Lance McCullers, Jr. allowed Houston to remain on cruise control well into the seven inning — setting up the 6-1 victory to give the Astros a 1-0 series lead.
As for the Tampa Bay and Boston matchup at Tropicana Field Thursday evening, the night belonged to the Rays and left fielder Randy Arozarena — who managed to steal home and score a homer in the 5-0 shutout.
Arozarena’s historic steal was the first since Javy Báez’s score with the Cubs in the 2016 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tampa’s Nelson Cruz had his own spotlight moment when he blasted a Nick Pivetta pitch deep left, hitting the catwalk and allowing the ball to fall back into play until the announcers soon realized that the score would be upheld, setting up the Astros with a 3-0 lead in the third.
Per MLB Stats, Cruz’s homer makes him the “2nd-oldest player to hit a postseason HR, only trailing Julio Franco who hit two when he was 43 in 2001.” Cruz is 41 and proving that the old fellas can still hang.
Boston had nine hits on the evening but were unable to escape the goose egg. Both ALDS matchups will run it back for Game 2 Friday night.
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