2021 American League Championship Series: Altuve, Correa homer as Astros top Red Sox in Game 1
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The Houston Astros have taken the opening game of the American League Championship Series with a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.

Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa each homered as Houston came back from a 3-1 deficit. scoring four runs over the final three innings. Ryne Stanek picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth.

Kike Hernandez continues his incredible postseason as he bashed two home runs and drove in three among his four hits. Hansel Robles suffered the loss while starter Chris Sale lasted just 2 2/3 innings.

Story of the game

Hernandez got things going with a leadoff single in the first which Astros starter Framber Valdez was able to erase with a double-play ball, but the  next three hitters reached. Valdez got Hunter Renfroe to fly out softly to end the opportunity.

The Astros took the lead in the bottom of the first when Altuve drew a leadoff walk and Alex Bregman singled with one out. A wild pitch from Sale advanced both runners and Yordan Alvarez got Houston on the board with a sacrifice fly.

Back-to-back singles in the bottom of the second by Yuli Gurriel and Chas McCormick and after Sale hit Martin Maldonado, the bases were loaded, but he struck out Altuve and got Michael Brantley to fly out to Hernandez.

The ex-Dodger then tied the game with a solo home run in the third and after a walk by Xander Bogaerts and a single by Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez hit a would-be double-play ball, but Altuve booted it and Bogaerts scored to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

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Renfroe doubled down the left-field line, bringing home Devers to push the Red Sox lead to two runs. Alex Verdugo struck out and manager Dusty Baker pulled Valdez for Yimi Garcia, who punched out Christian Arroyo.

Alvarez and Correa singled in the bottom of the third before Sale struck out Kyle Tucker, the last hitter he would face. Adam Ottavino came in and got Gurriel to ground out to end the inning.

Josh Taylor worked the bottom of the fifth and Brantley greeted him wih a leadoff single. After getting the next two outs, manager Alex Cora brought in Ryan Brasier and he surrendered a single to Correa before Tucker lined out on the first pitch to end the inning.

The Astros tied the game in the bottom of the sixth against Red Sox stud reliever Tanner Houck. After Gurriel popped out, but McCormick singled up the middle. Maldonado followed with a flyout, but Altuve parked a first-pitch fastball over the Crawford Boxes for his 20th career postseason homer. 

Cora controversially lifted Houck in favor of Robles for the bottom of the seventh and that move backfired. He got the first two outs of the inning, but Correa took a 2-2 changeup and sent it into the seats in left to give the Astros the lead back.

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Houston got an insurance run in the eighth off of Hirokazu Sawamura when Gurriel walked, McCormick singled and Maldonado was hit by a pitch and Altuve lifted a fly ball to center that managed to score Gurriel, who just beat Hernandez' throw home.

Closer Ryan Pressly was brought on to protect the lead, but Hernandez socked his second home run of the night to cut the Astros lead to one. Pressly settled down and retired the next three hitters to get Houston off to a good start in what should be a classic ALCS.

Game 2 look-ahead

There will be little rest for the two teams as they are back at it Saturday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi, already 2-0 in the playoffs, will take the mound for Boston while rookie Luis Garcia goes for Houston.

FOX will televise the game with Joe Buck calling the action, John Smoltz alongside as analyst and Ken Rosenthal handling the on-field interviews. First pitch is at 4:20pm Eastern time.

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