Houston leads the ALDS 1-0

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

Astros' Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa Celebrating
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Yordan Alvarez was one of

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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros defeat the Orioles, 5-1. Composite Getty Image.

Ronel Blanco pitched seven strong innings and Chas McCormick homered twice to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Yordan Alvarez added a two-run shot to help Houston extend its winning streak to four games.

Blanco (8-2), who threw seven hitless innings in his last start, allowed four hits and a run with three strikeouts for his third straight win.

Alvarez put the Astros on top with his 16th homer, which came off Corbin Burnes (8-3) in the third, and McCormick made it 4-1 in the fifth. McCormick got his fifth career multihomer game when he connected again in the eighth.

Burnes allowed five hits, including a season-high two homers and a season-most four runs in seven innings to snap his career-best streak of 10 consecutive quality starts. He was 5-0 in seven starts since a loss at Washington on May 7.

Jordan Westburg homered in the second for the Orioles, who set a franchise record with 21 straight games with a home run to surpass the 1998 squad's 20-game streak.

Baltimore had troubled stringing hits together Saturday after scoring 28 runs combined in the last two games. The top four batters in their order combined to go 1 for 13 against Blanco and Houston's bullpen.

Ryan Pressly threw a scoreless eighth before Josh Hader struck out two in a perfect ninth to end it.

Westburg connected off Blanco with one out in the second to put the Orioles up 1-0.

Yainer Diaz opened Houston’s second with a triple on a line drive to right field. The Astros tied it when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubón with one out.

McCormick singled with no outs in the third and the shot to center field by Alvarez came with two outs to put Houston on top 3-1.

McCormick’s home run to the seats in left field extended the lead to 4-1 with one out in the fifth.

Cedric Mullins tripled off the wall in center with one out in the seventh. Colton Cowser hit a sharp line drive, but was robbed of a hit when shortstop Jeremy Peña made a leaping catch for the second out. Blanco then retired Ramón Urías to end the inning and leave Mullins stranded.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Jake Bloss, who made his major league debut Friday night, was placed on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort.

ROSTER MOVES

Astros: RHP Nick Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday night. ... LHP Bryan King was selected to the MLB roster and RHP Luis Contreras was recalled from Sugar Land on Saturday. … RHP Alex Speas was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

Houston LHP Framber Valdez (5-5, 3.91 ERA) opposes RHP Albert Suárez (3-1, 2.05) in the series finale Sunday.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome