MLB playoff updates: Yankees bats slam the Rays in Game 1 win

Mike Oz
·5 min read

During MLB’s busy league division series, we’ll keep you updated right here on results, must-see moments and what’s next in each matchup.

ALDS Game 1: New York Yankees 9, Tampa Bay Rays 3

What happened? The American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays figures to be a last-man-standing type of battle between two teams with plenty of talent and just as much bad blood.

That’s to say Game 1 won’t decide this series, but both teams were eager to land the first blow. It decisively went to the Yankees, who won 9-3 after Giancarlo Stanton delivered a grand slam in the ninth inning and the Yankees bats looked as dangerous as ever.

The Yankees struck first, last and hit big homers in the middle — kind of their formula these days. They hit four homers total, including the Stanton grand slam. The Yankees offense, which seemed renewed in the wild-card series, has now scored 31 runs in three games and homered at least three times in every game. Their 11 homers in three games are the most ever in three games to start a postseason.

Before the ninth, the game was much closer. The turning point was two Yankees homers in the fifth inning — one came from a name you’d expect, the other not so much.

After a two-run homer from Ji-Man Choi gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the fourth, the Yankees immediately counter-punched when Kyle Higashioka tied the game with a solo homer and Aaron Judge hit a laser homer to take the lead shortly afterward.

Judge is a guy you pray doesn’t beat you. Higashioka, New York’s backup catcher, was in the game because he’s become Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher lately. In a tight series, the Rays are going to pay when the Kyle Higashiokas of the world get big hits — and that’s exactly what happened in Game 1.

Speaking of Cole, he was good but not amazing. He pitched six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight. It was still enough for Cole to become the first Yankees pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2001 to have back-to-back postseason games with eight or more strikeouts.

What’s next? The Yankees and Rays return Tuesday for Game 2 with Tampa Bay trying to even out the series. Tyler Glasnow will take the mound for the Rays. He’s coming off a season with a 5-1 record and a 4.08 ERA. The Yankees counter with Deivi Garcia, the 21-year-old rookie who will be making his first postseason start. Garcia was 3-2 with a 4.98 ERA this season for the Yankees.

The game begins at 8:10 p.m. ET with TV coverage on TBS.

You see that? Judge and Stanton hit the most important homers of the game, but Clint Frazier produced the best homer highlight. Look at this majestic blast. He went up into the zone and crushed this.

ALDS Game 1: Houston Astros 10, Oakland Athletics 5

What happened? Head’s up, America: The Houston Astros are back.

Baseball’s biggest villains in 2020 appear to be the postseason juggernauts of years past — and they especially showed it Monday in Game 1 of their American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics, winning 10-5 after the type of offensive outburst we’ve seen from them in past Octobers.

The A’s won the AL West this year and the Astros barely made the postseason with a sub-.500 record. But you couldn’t tell it from Game 1 of this series.

The A’s jumped to an early 3-0 lead after two homers, but the Astros woke up to post three runs in the fourth, four runs in the sixth and a little bit of insurance in the seventh.

If you’ve watched these Astros go on postseason runs in the past — or if you watched them upset the No. 2-seeded Twins in the opening round — you saw the usual suspects in Game 1.

• Carlos Correa hit two homers and had four RBIs — the first tying the game in the fourth, the other making the lead 8-5 in the seventh. He knocked in another run with a ninth-inning single.

• George Springer, who thrives in October, was 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored.

• Alex Bregman homered to get the Astros on the board in the fourth inning. Incredibly, it’s the fourth straight year he’s homered in an ALDS game on Oct. 5. Says something about Bregman on the big stage and the Astros’ ability to generate runs in October.

Neither starter was spectacular in this one, Lance McCullers Jr. for the Astros and Chris Bassitt for the A’s. The difference? The Astros bullpen didn’t allow a hit from the fifth inning until the end of the game. The A’s bullpen, meanwhile, allowed seven hits and seven runs.

And that’s how you lose in October.

What’s next? These two teams are back at it Tuesday for Game 2, as the A’s will be looking to even out this best-of-five series. The A’s will send Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57) for Houston .

Valdez isn’t Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole, but he’s been solid for Houston this season. He threw five shutout innings in his first postseason appearance against the Twins. Manaea didn’t pitch in the wild-card series against the White Sox, but recently pitched well against the Astros. On Sept. 10, he threw seven innings against Houston allowing just two hits and one run. The A’s will need an outing like that, given the way Houston’s offense opened the series.

You see this? Here’s the Carlos Correa homer collection for Game 1.

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