ALCS Game 1 at a glance

Astros-Red Sox Game 1 Preview: Goliath vs. Goliath

Justin Verlander is back on the mound tonight. Elsa/Getty Images

With three wins down, the Astros will look to get four more in the ALCS to move on to their second consecutive World Series. To do so, they'll have to go through a much tougher Boston team than they played in the ALDS last year. Here are the details for today's Game 1. Look for our full recap after the game:

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Fenway Park, Boston.

TV: TBS.

Streaming: TBS App.

Pitching matchup: Justin Verlander vs. Chris Sale.

Series: Tied 0-0.

The breakdown: Much like Game 1 of the ALDS where the Astros had Verlander vs. Kluber for the Indians, the ALCS will also pit ace against ace in Game 1 with Verlander going against Chris Sale. Sale pitched in relief in the Game 4 win on Tuesday night so it will be interesting to see if that plays a factor at all in his velocity or performance tonight. Verlander, meanwhile, will be on extended rest with his last time on the mound going back to ALDS Game 1 on Oct. 5, and he typically prefers to keep a steady schedule to stay sharp. Look for the Astros to build on the strong road offense they displayed when they eliminated the Indians so they can steal one or both of these first two games in Boston before returning to Houston. 

Series schedule:

  Result / Date & Time  Location    Pitching matchup
Game 1 Tonight, 7:00 PM  Boston    Verlander vs. Sale
Game 2 Sun. 10/14, 6:00 PM  Boston    Cole vs. Price
Game 3 Tues. 10/16, 4:00 PM  Minute Maid    Keuchel+ vs. TBD
Game 4 Wed. 10/17, 7:30 PM  Minute Maid    Morton+ vs. TBD
Game 5* Thu. 10/18, 7:00 PM  Minute Maid    Verlander+ vs. TBD
Game 6* Sat. 10/20, 4:00 PM  Boston    Cole+ vs. TBD
Game 7* Sun. 10/21, 6:30 PM  Boston    TBD vs. TBD

* Games 5-7 are if necessary.
+-projected starters.

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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