Astros pull away late to take ALDS Game 1

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Astros take 1-0 ALDS lead with 6-2 win over Rays

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Although it started as a pitcher's duel Justin Verlander and the Astros would outlast the Rays and take Game 1 of the ALDS, 6-2. Jose Altuve had the hit of the day with his two-run home run to start the scoring, while Justin Verlander's dominant day on the mound earned him the win after seven shutout innings. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 6, Rays 2.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Winning Pitcher: Justin Verlander.

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow.

Verlander and Glasnow duel in the early innings

Justin Verlander didn't have the first at-bat you would have predicted to start the ALDS. He issued a five-pitch walk to Austin Meadows but was able to induce a double-play then a strikeout to end the inning. That would be the start of an early pitcher's duel, with Verlander and Tyler Glasnow keeping their opponents scoreless in the early goings.

The Astros had their chances in the second and third innings, getting two on in the bottom of the second, then loading the bases in the third, but Houston would strand all five runners. Verlander kept rolling along, allowing just his first hit of the afternoon in the top of the fifth before retiring the next three batters, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

Astros break through in the fifth

Glasnow looked to be fading to start the bottom of the fifth, walking Josh Reddick on four pitches. He followed that with a three-pitch strikeout of George Springer, but Jose Altuve would put an end to Glasnow's day with a two-run home run to score the first runs of the day and give Houston a 2-0 lead.

Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman had back-to-back hits against Brendan McKay who was first out of Tampa Bay's bullpen, and they would come around to score later in the inning on a costly error by the Rays on a fly ball by Yuli Gurriel that went uncaught and doubled Houston's lead at 4-0.

Verlander finishes seven shutout innings as Astros tack on insurance

Verlander, meanwhile, was cruising along en route to another dominant playoff start on the mound. The hit he allowed in the top of the fifth would go down as his only of the day, paired with three walks, the only baserunners he allowed while notching eight strikeouts. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.

In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Bregman walked for his second time in the game, then stole second to get into scoring position with two outs. That set up Yordan Alvarez, who recorded his first postseason RBI with a double, followed by Yuli Gurriel, who dropped the ball into right field for another RBI-double, extending Houston's lead to 6-0.

Bullpen finishes things off to take a 1-0 ALDS lead

Ryan Pressly took over for Verlander to pitch the top of the eighth but would have a shaky inning, allowing the Rays to score two runs and giving up four hits to trim the lead to 6-2 while getting just two outs. Will Harris was brought in to clean things up and get the final out of the inning.

Roberto Osuna was next out of Houston's bullpen to try and close out the four-run win. He did so, getting a scoreless inning to finish the game and give Houston a 1-0 lead in the ALDS.

Up Next: ALDS Game 2 is on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for a late 8:07 PM at Minute Maid Park. The pitching matchup will be 2019 Cy Young hopeful Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA in the regular season) for the Astros going up against 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29 ERA in the regular season) for the Rays. After Game 2, the series moves to Tropicana Field for Game 3 and, if needed, Game 4.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome