They were not incredibly easy wins or big blowouts on Thursday as the American League Division Series began. But make no mistake about it, both home teams cruised toward comfortable victories to take 1-0 leads in their respective series. The first game on top saw the Houston Astros welcome the Chicago White Sox to town, and they got to work early to take advantage of a slow start from Lance Lynn. He would give up five earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched that included giving up six hits and allowing eight runners on board. Lance McCullers, meanwhile, was great for the Astros, giving up no runs in 6 2/3 innings pitched.
Yordan Alvarez went 2 for 3 at the plate with a homer and a double in the ‘W.’ The White Sox didn’t manage to score their run until the top of the eighth, so it was all but over at that point as they fell 6-1. It was much of the same story in the nightcap as well as the Boston Red Sox fell 5-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Wander Franco and Yandy Diaz each had RBI doubles in the bottom of the first before Nelson Cruz hit a home run in the third that scraped the top of the building and might have gone to the moon had it been hit outdoors. Randy Arozarena then took over, hitting a home run in the fifth and then stealing home in the seventh to further shore up the lead. Rookie Shane McClanahan was on the mound for the Rays, and he looked every bit the ace he was in the regular season, going five innings and allowing no walks or runs in the outing. Both series will continue on Friday with Game 2 while the NLDS also gets underway.