Houston pulls of the victory

Astros get comeback win over Diamondbacks to take the series

Jose Siri and Chas McCormick's back-to-back homers pushed the Astros over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a disappointing loss in the middle game of this set, the Astros tried to end their streak of "playing down" to teams by getting a convincing win to take the series on Sunday. They would get the victory, but it would take an eighth-inning comeback to get the job done.

Final Score: Astros 7, Diamondbacks 6

Astros' Record: 88-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Peter Solomon (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandyn Sittinger (0-1)

Greinke roughed up as teams trade big innings

The Astros jumped out to a first-inning lead against Arizona, getting a leadoff walk and one-out single to set up Carlos Correa for a two-out three-run homer to make it 3-0. Zack Greinke retired the first seven batters he faced, but the Diamondbacks' first hit was a loud one, a solo homer by Pavin Smith to cut the lead to two runs in the top of the third.

Greinke ran into big trouble in the fourth, giving up a one-out single, walk, then three-straight RBI singles, the third bringing in two runs as Arizona went in front 5-3. He would get the final two outs, and his day would end short there as Houston moved to their bullpen in the fifth. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 68 P.

Houston goes back in front with big eighth inning

Peter Solomon, recently recalled by Houston from Triple-A to grab a fresh arm for the bullpen, made his fourth appearance of 2021 when he took over for Greinke in the top of the fifth. He allowed Arizona to extend their lead to two runs, giving up a leadoff walk, a single, then later a sac fly to make it 6-4 before getting through the inning. He kept going for a 1-2-3 sixth, and in the seventh, erased a couple of walks with a double play to keep it a two-run game.

Houston had their first chance against Arizona's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh and threatened to do some damage by working three walks to load the bases but would strand all three runners. Jose Siri made it a new game in the bottom of the eighth, capitalizing on a leadoff walk that set him up for a game-tying homer, and Chas McCormick followed that to make it back-to-back homers to put the Astros back in front, 7-6.

Astros get the series victory

Despite having pitched the first two games of this series, Houston elected to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and close things out in the top of the ninth with the one-run lead. He did not look the least bit fatigued, striking out the side in order to give the Astros the series win and move them another game closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs.

Up Next: With this short homestand over, the Astros will begin their final road trip of the regular season on Monday, with the opener of four in Los Angeles against the Angels starting at 8:38 PM Central. Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) is expected to get back on the mound for Houston after missing a turn due to a finger cut, while the Angels should have a start by Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA).

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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