The Houston Astros have jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their American League Division Series with a 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park.
On the mound, Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while Yordan Alvarez homered and drove in a pair of runs.
Lance Lynn struggled, giving up six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings in his first postseason start since 2014. Jose Abreu drove in the only run of the game for Chicago.
Astros cruise past White Sox in series opener
After an easy first inning for both sides, the Astros struck in the bottom of the second. Alvarez walked to lead off the inning and Carlos Correa stroked a one-set single to right. Jake Meyers drove Alvarez home with a run-scoring single to make it 1-0.
The lead was extended in the bottom of the third on a fielder's choice by Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve beating Yoan Moncada's throw home and an RBI single by Alvarez that played Bregman as it was now 3-0 Houston.
Moncada singled in the top of the fourth for the White Sox' first hit of the afternoon, but it ultimately came to nothing. In the bottom of the frame, Altuve and Michael Brantley each drove in a run to make it a 5-0 contest and effectively end the game.
Reynaldo Lopez relieved Lynn and got the final out of the inning before Alvarez took him deep in the bottom of the fifth with a 411-foot home run.
Chicago threatened in the top of the sixth when Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jimenez singled to put two men on , but McCullers Jr. got Gavin Sheets to ground out to end the inning.
"He likes to be in these types of games," Altuve said of McCullers Jr. "I was kinda expecting this from him and he did it. I'm so happy for him."
Finally, the shutout was spoiled against Houston reliever Kendall Graveman in the eighth. A two-out rally by the White Sox saw Tim Anderson single, Moncada walk and Abreu drive Anderson home with a single for the final score of 6-1.
Astros closer Ryan Pressly came in to pitch the top of the ninth and after allowing a leadoff single to Luis Robert, retired the next three hitters to pick up the save and cap a terrific afternoon for the AL West champs.
White Sox look to even the series in Game 2
Lucas Giolito will get the start for Chicago in Game 2. The righty was 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA. Houston counters with Framber Valdez, who posted an 11-6 record and a 3.14 ERA.
First pitch is at 2:07 Eastern time and will be shown on MLB Network. Bob Costas will handle the play-by-play duties, Jim Kaat and Buck Showalter will be the analysts and Tom Verducci is the on-field reporter.