MLB playoffs: Lucas Giolito dazzles as White Sox past A’s; Yankees rout Indians; Astros, Rays win
Lucas Giolito dazzled in his postseason debut, stymieing the Oakland Athletics through six perfect innings and sending the Chicago White Sox to a 4-1 victory in the opener of their best-of-three wild-card series Tuesday.
Giolito (1-0), who pitched a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25, didn’t allow a baserunner to the AL West champions until Tommy La Stella’s single up the middle to start the seventh. Giolito gave up one run on two hits over seven innings, struck out eight and walked one before giving way to Evan Marshall after a stellar 100-pitch outing.
Giolito got plenty of support: Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer and Adam Engel also connected for Chicago against Jesus Luzardo (0-1). Yasmani Grandal homered in the eighth.
Alex Colome, Chicago’s third reliever, worked the ninth for a save in the 2-hour, 53-minute game.
Now, Oakland must win Game 2 on Wednesday at home to avoid another early playoff exit. The A’s are in the postseason for a third straight year, having lost in the AL wild-card game each of the past two seasons after 97 wins both times.
Astros 4, Twins 1
Jose Altuve drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning after a two-out error by shortstop Jorge Polanco, and Houston beat Minnesota to open their AL playoff series and stretch the Twins’ all-time record postseason losing streak to 17 games.
Manager Dusty Baker’s Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. Game 2 in the best-of-three wild-card matchup is Wednesday at Target Field.
Michael Brantley tacked on a two-run single in the ninth after Sergio Romo issued a full-count walk to the 5-foot-6 Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP who had a quiet season at the plate.
Framber Valdez, who made 10 regular-season starts for the Astros, pitched five scoreless innings in relief of Zack Greinke for the victory to keep the bullpen fresh for the rest of the series. Valdez allowed his only two hits with one out in the ninth, but Willians Astudillo grounded into a double play to end the game.
Minnesota’s previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 1
Blake Snell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and top-seeded Tampa Bay opened the playoffs with a win over Toronto.
Manuel Margot hit a two-run homer and Randy Arozarena tripled and scored on a wild pitch to give Snell and a dominant Rays bullpen all the offensive support needed to begin the best-of-three matchup.
The AL East champion Rays will try to advance Wednesday in Game 2 at Tropicana Field.
Snell allowed just two baserunners until Alejandro Kirk singled leading off the sixth. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner permitted one hit and struck out nine — tying a club postseason record — in 5 2/3 innings.
Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks followed, limiting the wild-card Blue Jays to Bo Bichette’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Fairbanks closed for his first save of the season.
Toronto reliever Robbie Ray took the loss. Margot homered off A.J. Cole to make it 3-0 in the seventh.
Yankees 12, Indians 3
Aaron Judge smashed a tone-setting, two-run homer on Shane Bieber’s fourth pitch, Gerrit Cole struck out 13 and the New York Yankees opened the AL playoffs with a resounding 12-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
Judge and the rest of New York’s hitters hadn’t faced Bieber in 2020, but they were well prepared and took some meaty cuts against the 25-year-old ace, who gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine) over 4 2/3 innings — his shortest stint since June 9 last season against the Yankees.
The best-of-three series continues Wednesday night with Carlos Carrasco trying to save Cleveland’s season against Masahiro Tanaka.
When Bieber’s final pitch clanged loudly off the empty left-field bleachers on a two-run homer by Gleyber Torres in the fifth, the Yankees were up 7-2 and had delivered a boisterous postseason message to the rest of baseball: Don’t forget us.
Naylor went 4 for 4 and became the first player with three extra-base hits in his postseason debut.
Cole’s strikeouts were the second-most by a New York pitcher in postseason history. Roger Clemens fanned 15 in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS.
Brett Gardner added a two-run homer in the seventh for the Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo shot in the ninth.
Judge’s first homer since coming off the injured list on Sept. 16 — and the first allowed by Bieber at home this season — gave the Yankees a stunning 2-0 lead.
DJ LeMahieu, the AL batting champion, led off with a single before Judge, who missed 29 games with a strained calf, blasted Bieber’s first pitch, a middle-of-the-plate fastball, beyond the wall in right-center.
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