‘Alvarez Multi-Four’ Houston beats Minnesota and takes the lead in ALDS
Houston took the division series lead thanks to Justin Verlander’s impressive pitching and Jordan Alvarez’s multihomerun.
The Houston Astros won 6-4 in Game 1 of the American League Division Series (best-of-five) against the Minnesota Twins in the 2023 Major League postseason at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas on the 8th (Korea Standard Time).
West Division winners Houston against Minnesota, which beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card series.
Minnesota has a chance to score first. In the first inning, table setter Eduard Julien George Polanco took the first and second bases with no outs with a walk and a hit, but Royce Lewis hit a double play and quickly scored on second and third base, and Alex Kirillov finished the inning with a groundout to shortstop after Max Kepler’s walk.
It was a post-crisis chance. When Jose Altuve appeared in the first inning, he hit Minnesota starter Bailey Ober’s four-seam fastball of 92.4 miles (148 kilometers) to hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was the last shot.
In the third inning, with one out, Alex Bregman reached base on a bases-loaded ball, and Jordan Alvarez hit a two-run home run to widen the gap. After watching the first pitch of the over, he targeted an 84.5 mile (135 km) changeup on the second pitch and went over the right wall.
Houston didn’t stop. Leading off the fifth inning, Bregman singled to left and Alvarez walked, putting first and second base on base with no outs. Kyle Tucker’s well-hit ball headed straight for third baseman Polanco, but Jose Abreu and Chas McCormick both hit timely hits with one RBI to seal the game.
The Minnesota batting line, which missed a chance to hit runners on 1st and 2nd base with one out in the 2nd inning and no outs in the 3rd inning, finally exploded in the 7th inning. It started with a walk on leadoff pitch by Mac Wallner and a hit to right by Ryan Jeffers. Pinch hitters Willi Castro and Julien struck out in succession, but Polanco (3-run home run) and Luis (solo home run) hit thrilling back-to-back home runs against Hector Neris, putting them ahead by 4-5 by 1 point. However, Kepler’s chance with two outs and two bases on base, which led to a double, was canceled when Kirillov struck out.
Houston did not sit still. With one out and no runner on base in the 7th inning, Alvarez hit a solo home run to bring the momentum back. Alvarez targeted the sweeper on the third pitch of pitcher Caleb Tilba, who changed from 1B-1S, and hit the right pole.
Minnesota had another chance in the 8th inning with Carlos Correa’s double, but Wallner and Ryan Jeffers struck out in succession, and Castro only grounded out to second base.
Houston starter Justin Verlander became the winning pitcher after pitching 6 innings, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, striking out 6, and allowing no runs. It was the 40-year-old veteran pitcher’s 17th postseason victory. Neris’ poor performance, allowing 3 hits (2 home runs), striking out 2, and allowing 4 runs in ⅔ innings, was buried in the victory.
In the batting lineup, Alvarez stood out the most with 2 hits in 3 at-bats (2 home runs), 3 RBIs, 1 walk, and 3 runs scored.
On the other hand, Minnesota’s starting pitcher became the losing pitcher after allowing 4 hits (2 home runs), 2 strikeouts, and 3 runs in 3 innings. Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda, who came up next, was also shaken, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 2 runs in 2 innings. Polanco’s performance of 2 hits (1 home run) and 3 RBIs in 5 at-bats was overshadowed by the loss.
The two teams will play the second game of the division series at the same venue on the 9th. A starting matchup between Pablo Lopez (Minnesota) and Framber Valdez (Houston) was expected.