The Venezuelan José Altuve, the Puerto Rican Carlos Correa and the Cuban Yuli Gurriel with the bat, and the left-handed Dallas Keuchel from the mound, led the Houston Astros to a 2 × 1 victory over the New York Yankees, in the beginning from the playoffs for the American League championship.
The Astros start by giving the first blow of this series to the best of seven games, and whose second game will take place tomorrow Saturday, also at the Houston stadium.
Altuve was the inspirational spark for the home team, hitting three hits in four at-bats and scoring the first run by taking advantage of his speed on the bases.
The Astros pitching left the strong Yankee slugger on five hits, while Keuchel (1-0) won a starting pitcher duel against Japanese Masahiro Tanaka (0-1), by accepting four hits in 7 innings, giving away a walk and deal 10 strikeouts.
Reliever Ken Giles got into a tough situation in the eighth inning, with two Yankees on the bases, but he pulled the inning and even allowed Bird’s late homer in the ninth inning, he scored the save.
Keuchel and Tanaka stayed in a game to zero, until in the bottom of the fourth inning Altuve hit an infield single and reached second on a steal base.
Then, Puerto Rican Carlos Correa hit the cannon to left field to tow Altuve with the first run of the game.
Puerto Rico’s Correa anchored at second base after Tanaka rolled the second out to Venezuelan Marwin González’s side.
First baseman Gurriel drove in Correa 2-0 on the board with a single to center field, and the game remained unchanged until Bird’s home run.
Tanaka took the loss with four hits and two runs, both earned in six innings, with one walk and three strikeouts.
Reliever Chad Green relieved Tanaka and allowed Houston no more freedoms, leaving him to two hits and two strikeouts in two innings.
On Saturday, both teams meet again, with Luis Severino on the mound for the Yankees against Justin Verlander on the mound for the Astros.
In the second hour of that same day, the Los Angeles Dodgers will go home, with their star Clayton Kershaw on the mound, in search of the first victory against the defending champions Chicago Cubs, at the start of the series for the pennant of the National League. AFP