Houston looks ready for the postseason

Astros slug their way to walk-off win in regular-season finale

Kyle Tucker hit one of Houston's four home runs in the regular-season finale against Oakland on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With their ALDS positioning already locked up, the Astros had the opportunity to use the 162nd and final game of the regular season as a tune-up on Sunday. Their offense looked ready, powering their way to a final victory.

Final Score: Astros 7, A's 6

Astros Record: 95-67, winners of the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Blake Taylor (4-4)

Losing Pitcher: Lou Trivino (7-8)

Houston and Oakland go back-and-forth with solo homers

After a scoreless first inning, the runs started coming one after another in the second and third innings. Oakland started the scoring with a leadoff solo home run off of Jose Urquidy in the top of the second, then got another with one out in the third. However, Houston matched them both times, getting solo shots by Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers in the bottom half of the frames to make it a 2-2 tie going to the fourth.

The A's got back in front in the top of the fifth, getting back-to-back singles to get a runner to third to set up Tony Kemp for his second RBI of the game on a sac fly to put the Astros behind 3-2. Urquidy would finish that inning and continued with a scoreless sixth to end his day: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

Tucker gets his 30th homer, Greinke comes in from the pen

Urquidy would get off the hook and end up in line for the win thanks to his offense in the bottom of the sixth. Jose Altuve led things off with a double; then, with two outs, Kyle Tucker would blast his 30th homer of the season, a two-run go-ahead shot to make it a 4-3 Houston lead. In what is shaping up to be his role on the post-season pitching staff, Zack Greinke entered from the bullpen in the top of the seventh to make a relief appearance.

Greinke made easy work of the 7-8-9 hitters of Oakland's lineup, retiring them in order to maintain the one-run lead. The lead became two runs in the bottom of the inning, with Jose Altuve getting his second double in as many innings to make it 5-3. In the top of the eighth, Greinke had another 1-2-3 inning, getting through the top of Oakland's order on just seven pitches.

Oakland ties it in the ninth, but Astros walk it off to end the regular season

At the beginning of the game, the Astros let Carlos Correa take the field by himself for a moment in what could potentially be his last regular-season game as a member of the team, if not re-signed this offseason. In the bottom of the eighth, he showed why he will garner such a large contract, hitting an opposite-field solo homer to make it a three-run game. He would take the field for the top of the ninth, but the Astros would give him another memorable moment, making defensive adjustments to take him out of the game and walk back to the dugout and get a standing ovation from the Minute Maid Park crowd.

After retiring the first six batters he faced, Greinke had a rough start to the ninth, allowing a single then a two-run homer to make it a one-run game at 6-5. He would get one more out before Dusty Baker brought in Blake Taylor, who, after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo homer with two outs.

Houston wasted little time in the bottom of the ninth, getting a leadoff single by Jason Castro, who moved to third on a one-out double by Yordan Alvarez. That brought Yuli Gurriel, soon-to-be batting title winner, to the plate with a chance to win the game. He did just that, getting one more hit in the regular season, this one the walk-off single to give Houston a victory to cap off their successful regular season.

Up Next: While we know what day ALDS Game 1 will take place (Thursday, October 7th) and where it will take place (Minute Maid Park), the start time and pitching matchup will be determined in the coming days as the rest of the playoff bracket shakes out.

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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