Houston takes Game 1

Correa homers twice as Astros power past A's in ALDS Game 1

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the two-game sweep of the Twins in the ALWC series, the Astros earned their spot into the divisional series. Their opponent in their ALDS, the AL West champions, the Oakland A's. However, with MLB's "bubble" in effect, Dodger Stadium was their home for the next three to five days. Here is a recap of Game 1:

Final Score: Astros 10, A's 5.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Winning Pitcher: Blake Taylor.

Losing Pitcher: J.B. Wendelken.

Early, frantic scoring knocks both starters out early

The scoring started early in Game 1, and at a frantic pace. The A's broke the seal, getting their first baserunner against Lance Mccullers Jr. wit ha one-out walk in the bottom of the second, setting up a two-run home run by Khris Davis to take the early 2-0 lead. Sean Murphy pushed the lead to three with a solo homer to start the bottom of the third, putting the Astros in early trouble.

Houston responded quickly, though, getting a solo shot by Alex Bregman to lead off the fourth, followed by a Kyle Tucker single to set up a two-run bomb by Carlos Correa to tie the game 3-3. Houston started the fifth with back-to-back singles, knocking Chris Bassitt out of the game, but both runners would stay put.

Oakland continued attacking McCullers Jr, getting a go-ahead solo homer by Matt Olson in the bottom of the fourth. They threatened for more, getting runners on second and third with no outs, but would strand both. McCullers Jr. would come back out for the fifth, but after a leadoff single would prompt a visit by Dusty Baker, who would move on to his bullpen. Blake Taylor would enter and complete the inning, but not before allowing the runner to score on a sac fly, making it a 5-3 Oakland lead. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 75 P.

Astros put up four in the sixth

Down two runs, the Astros were able to get an extended inning in the top of the sixth with Josh Reddick reaching base on a two-out error. That spurred a rally by Houston, who would get four-straight hits, including an RBI-double by George Springer, a go-ahead two-RBI single by Jose Altuve, then an RBI-single by Michael Brantley, giving Houston a 7-5 lead before the dust settled.

After Taylor finished the fifth, Enoli Paredes was next out of Houston's bullpen and tossed a perfect bottom of the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa hit his second home run of the day, extending the lead to 8-5. Paredes stayed in the game for the bottom of the inning, retiring three more Oakland batters in order.

Houston takes Game 1

Cristian Javier took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth to try and keep the Astros in front heading to the ninth. He would do his job, erasing a leadoff walk to keep it a three-run game. Houston tacked on insurance in the top of the ninth, getting an RBI-single by Carlos Correa, his fourth run driven in on the day, and a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel, making it a five-run lead at 10-5. Even though it was no longer a save situation, the Astros still brought in Ryan Pressly in the bottom of the ninth, who retired Oakland 1-2-3 to finish off the victory.

Up Next: Game 2 of this ALDS will get underway on Tuesday at 3:37 PM Central, again from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Oakland will be the home team and will send Sean Manaea to the mound, while the Astros as visitors will start Framber Valdez.

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The Astros have now lost five straight games and the starting pitching and bullpen have let them down over that stretch. Cristian Javier was recently demoted to help him build up his stamina so that he can pitch deeper in games as the team's 5th starter when the schedule demands a 5-man starting rotation. But in the meantime, the Astros could desperately use his help out of the bullpen, and he's likely headed for relief duty when Framber Valdez returns from injury anyway. So this begs the question, is a role as the team's fifth starter the best way to maximize Javier's abilities? Check out the video to find out.

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