Well, the Astros are gonna have to win a game in New York this time. Zack Greinke had a good, not great outing, but the offense provided zero as the Astros surrendered homefield advantage to the Yankees in a 7-0 wipeout in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
There’s really not much good to cover in this one. Gleyber Torres drove in five of the seven runs for New York and had as many hits as the entire Astros’ lineup. He got the scoring started for the Yankees with a one-out double in the fourth inning to drive in DJ LeMahieu. Both Torres and LeMahieu attacked the first pitch from Greinke in their at-bats, something the Yankees have done with great success all season.
LeMahieu and Torres both smacked hits on the first pitch of their plate appearances in the 4th inning. The Yankees' 1.157 OPS on the first pitch of a plate appearance this season was the the highest mark in Baseball Reference’s pitch data (since 1988).— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) October 13, 2019
Torres put the Yankees’ second run of the night on the board with another first-pitch assault, lofting a solo shot to the Crawford Boxes in the sixth.
Torres has had a historic start to the 2019 postseason and appears to be a major problem for the Astros in the No. 3 hole.
Gleyber Torres now has 6 extra-base hits this postseason.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 13, 2019
That's tied for 2nd-most by any player at age 22 or younger in a single postseason, with 2003 Miguel Cabrera.
The only player ahead of him on that list: Cody Bellinger in 2017, with 8
Giancarlo Stanton hit the Yankees’ second home run of the inning a couple batters later to put New York up 3-0.
Let me reiterate: The Yankees hit two homers in the sixth inning. The Astros had just one hit through six innings, a single from Kyle Tucker.
Greinke struck out Brett Gardner to get through the sixth, but the damage was done. Greinke, who gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out six, wasn’t the main issue for the Astros Saturday night—but he’s been prone to surrendering the longball in his recent postseason outings.
Zack Greinke has allowed multiple HR in 3 straight postseason appearances, dating to 2017 NLDS Game 3 with the Diamondbacks.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 13, 2019
That's tied for the 2nd-longest such streak all-time.
The only pitcher with a longer streak: Corey Kluber, with 4 straight postseason app allowing 2+ HR
After Ryan Pressly retired the first two batters of the seventh inning, the Yankees connected with three straight hard-hit singles to rightfield to load the bases. Torres followed with a soft single to centerfield to drive in two more runs and the rout was on.
Josh James entered in relief of Pressly and struck out Edwin Encarnacion for the final out of the seventh.
The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the ninth on a Gio Urshela homer and Torres RBI groundout for the final margin.
Masahiro Tanaka threw six innings of one-hit ball and faced the minimum of 18 batters to lower his career postseason ERA to 1.32. In four playoff starts against the Astros, Tanaka has allowed four runs and 12 hits in 24 innings. With Tanaka lined up to start a potential Game 5—in NYC, no less—it feels like the Astros need to win the next two games if they want to bring the series back to Houston.
The lone bright spot for the Astros was when Alex Bregman made an amazing grab to rob Urshela of a likely double in the third inning.
James struck out three of the four batters he faced and didn’t allow a baserunner. He may have earned himself higher-leverage situations with his performance thus far in the playoffs.
Bryan Abreu allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in his first postseason appearance. Hector Rondon pitched 1⁄3 inning to finish the ninth for Abreu.
George Springer is hitting .120 (3-for-25) and Carlos Correa is batting .136 (3-for-22) with 10 strikeouts in the 2019 postseason.
The Astros are now 0-3 this postseason when failing to score first. Greinke is 3-6 with an ERA north of 4.50 in 13 career postseason starts.
Box score and videos here.
Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58) will get the start in Game 2 for the Astros. Verlander was roughed up by the Tampa Bay Rays in his ALDS Game 4 start at Tropicana Field. He went 3 2⁄3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in a 4-1 defeat. The loss marked Verlander’s first defeat in 12 lifetime starts in the ALDS (he was previously 8-0). Verlander made two starts against the Yankees during the regular season and went 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA to go with 15 strikeouts. He was 10-4 with a 2.34 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 17 starts at Minute Maid Park in 2019. James Paxton (15-6, 3.82) will get the ball for the Yankees in Game 2. Paxton made the first postseason start of his career in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins last Friday. He allowed three runs on five hits and struck out eight across 4 2⁄3 innings in the no-decision. Paxton faced the Astros twice in 2019 and went 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts. The loss came at Minute Maid Park, when Paxton allowed five runs and two homers in four innings. First pitch for Game 2 will be Sunday at 7:08 CT and the game will air on FS1.