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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After Yordan Alvarez suffered an injury on Thursday from colliding into Jeremy Peña in short left field, many fans and media are questioning whether Alvarez should DH exclusively to keep injuries like this from happening.

While this may prevent injuries from happening in left field, there are numerous ways of getting hurt, such as running the bases, and we saw Alvarez miss some time recently with a hand injury from swinging the bat.

Plus, playing Yordan in left where he's at least an average outfielder, allows veterans like Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve to slide in the DH spot to get some much-needed rest over the course of the season. And there's an argument being made that Yordan is better at the plate when he's playing the field.

Be sure to check out the video above as we debate this hot topic!

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