Verlander cools off Red Sox 7-2 in Game 1 of ALCS

Credit Courtesy          WHITE

The left-hander issued a one-out walk to Bregman and then a two-out free pass to White to put runners on first and second and end his night.

- The Red Sox extended their lead in the eighth inning when Betts ripped a two-out RBI single to score Devers. Josh Reddick hit a solo homer to lead off the ninth, and Yuli Gurriel curled a three-run shot into the front row beyond the Pesky Pole to give the defending World Series champions their fifth straight postseason victory.

Verlander issued his first bases-loaded walk since August 3, 2015, when he walked Mitch Moreland to make it 2-1. Compared to the 2016 ALCS Game 1, the viewership was up 42% vs. 2016 with double-digit growth across all key demos.

Then we have Boston's defense.

- Alex Bregman is the best player in baseball right now.

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Or, at least, that's how it appeared as Houston's star third baseman ran across home plate as the go-ahead run on Carlos Correa's sixth-inning single.

"He didn't find his slider till the fourth", said Boston manager Alex Cora, who was ejected after the fifth inning for arguing a strike call on Andrew Benintendi.

Umpire Joe West was hit by an errant throw to second base on Saturday night.

Cora is betting that Price is too good a pitcher to continuously flop in the playoffs, that eventually he will break through and justify his confidence.

He was certainly the ace in their World Series run a year ago and with the Astros unbeaten again this post-season he already has a pair of wins. "They pitched their way out of it, but we didn't hit our way into it". "So for him to tell me before we even took our jerseys off to put on our postseason shirts that we get when we win, that was special". That's a whopping 113 fewer than the Red Sox.

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"I read somewhere in social media", Cora said, "that his only postseason start (in which) he went nine (innings), it was under 50 degrees, he went nine innings and gave up two runs". Jose Altuve is the reigning MVP in the American League. And based on their form from September bleeding into October, they look capable of shortening this series in a hurry.

"I think knowing what's at stake and having experienced it, I think there's just a great boost of adrenaline that kicks in at this time", Hinch said. I felt like I was battling myself for a little bit.

In the Yankees start, Cora said, Price's main problem was a failure to change speeds, which allowed the Yankees to get some big swings on him.

Who will they turn to to get things started? If Sale gets another start, he'll need to be noticeably better than he was on Saturday.

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