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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Randy Arozarena Homers as Rays Beat Jose Altuve, Astros in ALCS Game 1

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Tampa Bay Rays Randy Arozarena is congratulated by teammate Yandy Diaz a solo home run against Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez during the fourth inning in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Game 1 of the ALCS was a pitching duel. Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen won it. 

Snell gave up just one run in five innings, Tampa’s bullpen locked down the dangerous Houston Astros offense for the remaining four, and the Rays took a tight first game in the series Sunday night, 2-1.  

Randy Arozarena continued his hot postseason with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, while Mike Zunino provided the game-winning RBI with a single in the bottom of the fifth. 

MLB @MLB

New series, same Randy. 😤

#ALCS https://t.co/pwzKeECvaJ

MLB @MLB

Tied no more. #ALCS https://t.co/kNlshJehCt

Jose Altuve‘s solo shot in the first inning was all Houston could muster offensively.

MLB @MLB

That was fast. 😳

#ALCS https://t.co/JV8opM4NVA

The Astros’ red-hot offense carried them throughout the postseason to this point. Tampa’s pitching staff will provide their biggest challenge yet. 

Key Stats

Blake Snell, TB: Five innings, six hits, one run, two walks, two strikeouts

Randy Arozarena, TB: 1-for-4, one homer

Tampa Bay Bullpen: Four innings, three hits, no runs, two walks, three strikeouts

Jose Altuve, HOU: 2-for-5, one homer

Framber Valdez, HOU: Six innings, four hits, two runs, four walks, eight strikeouts

Alex Bregman, HOU: 2-for-4

Blake Snell, Randy Arozarena And The Rays Followed Their Blueprint

The Rays probably would have preferred a bigger cushion than one run, but Snell giving them five innings of one-run ball before the bullpen closed the door was a familiar refrain.

Jake Asman @JakeAsman

The Rays just beat the Astros the same way they beat the Yankees.

Great starting pitching, great bullpen performance, and timely hitting.

Awesome baseball game.

Marc Carig @MarcCarig

The Rays, masters of run prevention, win a 2-1 ballgame in Game 1 of the ALCS. B-bullpen, shaky Snell, no prob.

Tampa wins behind superb pitching, tidy fielding and just enough offense. It doesn’t beat itself, and the bullpen makes it very, very hard for opposing hitters to beat it, either. It helps when a player like Arozarena has been on fire this postseason:

MLB @MLB

That’s four homers this #postseason for Randy Arozarena. https://t.co/XtDVLEcO9J

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

Randy Arozarena now has 7 extra-base hits this postseason.

That’s 3rd-most by a Rays player in a single postseason, behind only 2008 Evan Longoria & BJ Upton (9 each)

Stephen Nelson @StephenNelson

Randy Savage Arozarena again. This dude is so fun. Solo HR off Valdez to tie the game at 1. #RaysUp

Game 1 was a Tampa-style result. The Rays are three more performances like it from the World Series. 

Jose Altuve And The Astros Did Not

The Astros came into Sunday’s Game 1 with a 5-1 record this postseason, outscoring their opponents by a 40-24 margin. They’ve been hitting the cover off the ball. Minus Altuve’s homer, however, they did not hit the cover off the ball against the Rays. 

They did hit the ball, though. Houston finished the night with nine hits. The issue was that it didn’t string those hits together. 

Brian McTaggart @brianmctaggart

The Rays beat the Astros, 2-1, in Game 1 of the ALCS. Astros stranded 10 on base.

Full Dissident @hbryant42

Astros had a lotta chances…Tampa Bay wins.

This series was always going to be a clash of strengths: Tampa’s pitching vs. Houston’s hitting.

Tampa won Round 1. 

What’s Next?

Game 2 will be on Monday at 4:07 p.m. ET on TBS. Charlie Morton will take the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays against Lance McCullers Jr.

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