HOUSTON – This is a moment that White Sox players and fans have been thinking about since spring training, but it’s safe to say they’ll try to forget this contest much faster.
The team’s first playoff game of this October was one to forget for a number of reasons during a rough afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
With starter Lance Lynn struggling and the offense quiet most of the afternoon, the Astros built an early lead and then cruised to a 6-1 victory in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Houston on Thursday afternoon.
It’s the White Sox fifth-straight loss in 2021 to the Astros at Minute Maid Park, having been swept in a four-game series in June. They’ll get another shot to win on the road on Friday as they take the field for Game 2 of the ALDS at 1:07 PM.
Lynn, who allowed six earned runs in four innings against the Astros on June 19th in a loss at Minute Maid Park, had similar results as he opened up the playoffs. After a clean first inning, he’d struggle from the second through the middle of the fourth inning as he surrendered five runs on six hits with a wild pitch, four strikeouts, and two walks on 76 pitches.
Jake Meyers’ two-out single in the second drove in the first run and Houston put up two more in the third. Jose Altuve, who walked, advanced on a bunt, then moved to third on a wild pitch by Lynn, scored on a grounder to third in which he reached around catcher Yasmani Grandal to avoid the tag to make it 2-0.
Yordan Alvarez’s long double off the wall in left center brought home another run to push the deficit to three.
Like the second, Lynn couldn’t get a third out in the fourth inning to get out unscathed. With a runner on, Jose Altuve doubled to put runners on second and third, both of whom were knocked in by Michael Brantley to make it 5-0, which chased the starter from the game.
Reynaldo Lopez would allow a fifth inning solo homer to Alvarez to make it 6-0.
Meanwhile, the White Sox offense had little for Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr., who allowed just four hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Finally, the White Sox broke through in the eighth inning as Jose Abreu’s RBI single broke up the Astros’ shutout and offered a brief opportunity for the visitors to get back in the game. But Yasmani Grandal flied out to end the inning with two on, shutting the door on any hope to save a forgettable playoff opener.