Astros, Jose Altuve Take Down Red Sox In Game 1

NONo long ball? No problem

Astros, Jose Altuve Take Down Red Sox In Game 1

His first two home runs came against Red Sox ace Chris Sale, while the third came against reliever Austin Maddox. We're taking the Astros to advance to the ALCS.

His teammates didn't fare much better, with replacement Francisco Liriano giving up a two-run home run to rookie Rafael Devers that put Boston in front. The Astros won 8-2, just like Thursday.

Cleveland Indians' Yan Gomes, center, is mobbed by teammates after the Indians defeated the New York Yankees 9-8 in 13 innings in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Cleveland.

Here are three takeaways from the second game of the ALDS.

The Red Sox have aces in Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, who have both been outstanding all season long.

His catch over the right-field wall to rob Josh Reddick of a three-run homer in the second inning might have saved the Red Sox' season. He became the ninth player in history-after the likes of Albert Pujols, George Brett and Babe Ruth-to hit three home runs in a playoff game, and he did not seem remotely cowed by the stage. Price came in and looked as good as ever though, limiting the damage and keeping the Red Sox in the game.

Man of the moment: Jose Altuve is the favorite to win the AL MVP after a regular season that saw him hit.346 with a.957 OPS and 32 stolen bases. He also hit a double.

But Sale had also rarely faced a lineup as deep and unsafe as Houston's, or a hitter as complete as Altuve. With Pomeranz facing off against Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel followed those up with three straight 3-up-3-down innings, allowing him to save his pitch count and stay in the game to finish with 96 total pitches. Liriano got just one out while allowing one run and two hits for the Astros, who have never swept a postseason series.

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Heading into Friday, David Price had thrown 66 2/3 postseason innings over 15 appearances (nine starts). But Pomeranz was rocked by the Astros on Friday.

Houston's offense led the majors with 896 runs scored during the regular season, and has showed no signs of slowing down in October. Pomeranz struggles made Sale's performance look like a walk in the park.

Even after returning to the Red Sox lineup at the start of September, the team did all it could to give the veteran second baseman more rest.

When Sale mislocated pitches, it was often in the middle of the plate, and the best offense in the league teed off. He has a different feeling entering the playoffs this year after a trade just before the deadline for players to be eligible for the postseason brought him to Houston for another shot at a ring at age 34. And now the Astros find themselves with a 2-0 advantage heading back to Boston.

Manager A.J. Hinch said he's gotten exactly what he hoped to out of his young core. The Red Sox's lives won't be getting any easier on Sunday, as Brad Peacock will strut out his 13-2 record.

The Astros lead the series 2-0.

Do you really want your season hinging on a Doug Fister start in Game 3?

Where's the harm in starting David Price in Game 2 of the ALDS? Charlie Morton will start Game Four for Houston, if needed.

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