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    ALDS: Astros hold off Twins to win Game 1
    • October 8, 2023

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched six shutout innings, Yordan Alvarez homered twice and the Houston Astros held on for a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in their AL Division Series opener Saturday.

    Jose Altuve hit a leadoff home run and Alvarez had three RBIs as the defending World Series champions earned their 10th straight victory in Game 1 of a Division Series.

    Verlander settled in after a shaky start and the Astros built a 5-0 lead through six innings with big swings from Altuve and Alvarez.

    Héctor Neris took over for Verlander to start the seventh. With two outs, Jorge Polanco hit a soaring three-run homer to right field. Two pitches later, rookie Royce Lewis launched his third homer in three playoff games to make it 5-4.

    In the bottom half, Caleb Thielbar entered to face Alvarez with one out. The slugger became the first left-handed hitter to homer off Thielbar this season when he smacked an off-speed pitch off the foul pole in right to give Houston some insurance.

    Bryan Abreu got four outs, striking out three, and Ryan Pressly fanned two in a scoreless ninth for the save. He struck out Lewis to end it.

    The best-of-five series continues Sunday night in Houston.

    Altuve pounced on Bailey Ober’s first pitch for his first career leadoff homer in the playoffs. Alvarez connected off Ober on a two-run shot in the third to make it 3-0.

    The 40-year-old Verlander allowed four hits and walked three to get his 17th win in 35 postseason starts. The three-time Cy Young Award winner returned to the AL West champions this summer in a trade with the New York Mets.

    ​ Orange County Register