Astros, Rangers win on road to open AL playoff series
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 09, 2015 03:13 PM
Houston Astros starting pitcher Collin McHugh throws during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
ANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Collin McHugh and the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals at their own game on Thursday, relying on sharp pitching and stingy defense for a 5-2 victory in the opener of their American League Division Series.
In the league's other division series, Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run homer against David Price and Rougned Odor had a solo shot as the Texas Rangers beat the Blue Jays 5-3 in the first postseason baseball game in Toronto in 22 years.
It the first time since 1970 that visiting teams won MLB's first four postseason games. Houston won on the road against the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game on Tuesday, and the Chicago Cubs won at Pittsburgh in the National League wild-card game on Wednesday.
McHugh (1-0) allowed four hits in Houston's win Thursday, including a pair of solo homers by Kendrys Morales, while pitching around a 49-minute rain delay. The right-hander lasted six innings before turning the game over to his bullpen, which scattered three runners over the final three frames.
Tony Sipp, Will Harris and Oliver Perez got the game to Luke Gregerson, who handled the ninth to earn a save.
George Springer and Colby Rasmus went deep for the homer-happy Astros, but they also scored via the same sort of small ball the Royals used in reaching the World Series last season.
Game 2 is Friday, with lefty Scott Kazmir on the mound for Houston against right-hander Johnny Cueto in a matchup of pitchers traded during the MLB season.
Yordano Ventura (0-1) yielded three runs on four hits and a walk in two innings for Kansas City, but did not come back following the rain delay. Chris Young served up Springer's home run with one out in the fifth, but tossed four otherwise solid innings of relief.
The Astros, who struggled so mightily on the road this season, have apparently solved their woes just in time. They beat the Yankees 3-0 in Tuesday's wild-card game, then took care of a Royals club built specifically for spacious Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
"That's a young, athletic team and they played really, really good defense," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
In Toronto, Yovani Gallardo (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, improving to 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays.
"That's what we really needed from him," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I think he did a great job."
Price (0-1) allowed five runs and five hits in seven innings. He dropped to 1-6 with a 4.79 ERA in 11 postseason games, including six starts.
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista hit a solo homer in the sixth, then left with a sore right hamstring after popping out in the eighth. The Blue Jays said Bautista is expected to play Friday.
Both starting third baseman also left with injuries: Texas' Adrian Beltre in the third with a sore lower back and Toronto's Josh Donaldson in the fifth after he was kneed in the head while sliding in an attempt to break up a double play.
Marcus Stroman, who returned from a torn left knee ligament to go 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four September starts, takes the mound for the Blue Jays on Friday. Texas starts Cole Hamels, who is 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts with the Rangers.