The Astros fabled and feared playoff bats were in full force yet again today in this, the second game of the 2021 ALDS, the Astros winning 9-4, and taking a 2-0 lead in the series heading into Chicago.
The White Sox struck first with a run in the first after two singles by Luis Roberts and Jose Abreu, a hit by pitch to Yasmani Grandal, and an RBI force out to Eloy Jimenez.
But the Astros took the lead in the second inning when Kyle Tucker singled in Yuli Gurriel, followed by a Chas McCormick sacrifice fly.
Astros starter Framber Valdez cruised until the fifth inning when Leury Garcia led off with a single, followed by a rocket lineout to Alex Bregman and a Tim Anderson single sending Garcia to second.
Luis Roberts scored Garcia with a single, which brought Dusty Baker to the mound who sent Yimi Garcia in for Valdez.
Jose Abreu singled in Tim Anderson, and after a wild pitch, Yasmani Grandal sacrificed Roberts home to give the Sox a 4-2 lead.
The Astros tied the score in the bottom of the fifth but lost an opportunity to blow the game open. Jose Altuve led off the inning with a walk, and after a Brantley flyout, Alex Bregman got Altuve to second with another walk.
Garrett Crochet was sent in to replace Sox starter Lucas Giolito, and promptly loaded the bases with a walk to Yordan Alvarez. Yuli Gurriel then tied the score with a two-run single to center.
Then, with runners on first and second and one out, Carlos Correa hit into a 5-3 double play, Yoan Moncada taking Correa’s grounder, tagging third for the force, and throwing to first to get Correa.
In the seventh, the Astros took a commanding five-run lead starting with an Alex Bregman single, sending Jose Altuve to third following Altuve’s lead-off single. Alvarez then singled Altuve home, chasing Sox reliever Aaron Bummer.
Carlos (pay him) Correa smashed a line-drive, two-run double to right against Craig Kimbrel that was misjudged by Leury Garcia. Then, Kyle Tucker added two runs with a homer to the left-center corner of the Crawford Boxes.
Before the five-run Astros outburst, Ryne Stanek held the Sox in the seventh with the help of a terrific Tucker play on a line drive for the third out. In the eighth, closer Ryan Pressly came in and held the Sox, with the help of an amazing play by Jose Altuve who stopped a slow roller up the middle, jumped, and while moving away from first, threw 121 feet to get Eloy Jimenez by an inch.
Dusty Baker elected to send Kendall Graveman in to finish the game in the ninth despite his rocky outing yesterday. Graveman promptly made Astros fans' hearts skip a beat, allowing a walk and a single, but he got Luis Roberts to ground out and Jose Abreu to strikeout.
The game ended with a Yasmani Grandal flyout to deep right field in foul territory with, who else, Kyle Tucker making the game-ending catch.
Besides the play shown above, Jose Altuve sparkled on defense on numerous other plays this game, but contrary to the telecasters who awarded him game MVP, the star of this game was Kyle Tucker.
Tucker also made some sparkling plays, but his three RBI’s and two-run homer were the main force that ultimately brought down the Sox.
See y’all Sunday.