Houston leads the ALDS 1-0

Astros post dominant Game 1 win over White Sox to begin 2021 ALDS

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With their 95-67 record after the 162-game regular season in the books, the Astros and White Sox squared off with blank slates in a best-of-five clash to see who would advance to MLB's final four and the ALCS. In Game 1 from Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Astros capitalized on captured momentum to build and hold a significant lead, taking a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-five series.

Final Score: Astros 6, White Sox 1

ALDS Series (Best of Five): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr.

Losing Pitcher: Lance Lynn

Houston strikes first

After the first six batters of the game went down in order for a scoreless first inning, the White Sox put the first runner on base in the top of the second on a one-out hit-by-pitch on Luis Robert by Lance McCullers Jr. He would still manage to face the minimum in the inning, as Robert would get caught stealing to end the frame.

The Astros had their first baserunner in the second, as well, though they did more with it. A leadoff walk to Yordan Alvarez, followed by a one-out single by Carlos Correa and then Alvarez tagging on a lineout by Kyle Tucker, put them in position to score the first run of the series. Jake Meyers delivered it, getting the RBI single to put Houston in front 1-0.

The Astros broke out for a big inning in the third, getting Lance Lynn on the ropes. Jose Altuve led things off with a walk, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Michael Brantley. Alex Bregman brought him home, hitting a groundball that Altuve would beat out to home as the White Sox tried to get the play to save the run but instead allowed Houston to score and left Bregman on first. He would score from there in the next at-bat, with Yordan Alvarez blasting an RBI double off the left-center wall, extending the lead to 3-0 before Lynn could finish the frame.

Runs keep coming, McCullers Jr. posts a quality shutout start

The runs continued for the home team in the bottom of the fourth, as Meyers would notch his second hit of the game with one out to start the rally. He moved to third on a two-out double by Altuve; then both scored on a two-RBI single by Brantley to make it 5-0 and knock Lynn out of the game. Yordan Alvarez made it four innings in a row with a run in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the inning with a 411-foot solo homer to center, making it 6-0.

While all the scoring was going on, McCullers Jr. was cruising on the mound. He allowed just the one baserunner in the first three innings on the hit by pitch, not allowing a hit until one out in the fourth, a single which he would erase. He worked around an error in the fifth to strand another runner, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He kept going in the seventh, getting a double play to erase a leadoff single, but after back-to-back two-out hits, Dusty Baker would come to get the ball from him as Phil Maton would enter to finish the inning for him. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 104 P.

Astros take Game 1

After a scoreless bottom of the seventh, Houston turned to Kendall Graveman to navigate the top of the eighth. After two quick outs, he allowed a single and a walk, setting up an RBI single by Jose Abreu to put the White Sox on the board. Graveman would stop the threat there, getting a lineout to center to keep it a five-run lead.

In the top of the ninth, still a five-run lead, Ryan Pressly entered to try and close things out. Chicago met him with a leadoff single to start things off, but he would bounce back with two strikeouts and a fantastic play by Jose Altuve to end the game, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead in the series, with another game at home upcoming.

Up Next: ALDS Game 2 will be even earlier on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 PM Central from Minute Maid Park in Houston. It'll be another potent pitching matchup, with Lucas Giolito, who finished 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA in the regular season, on the mound for the White Sox, opposite Framber Valdez, who went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA for the Astros.

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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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