HOUSTON — The Astros picked up right where they left off last postseason, hitting four home runs to power past the Cleveland Indians, 7-2, Friday in Game 1 of their American League division series.
George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Martin Maldonado connected for the Astros, who hit a World Series-record 15 homers last year in winning their first championship.
Much was made about the pitching prowess these teams possess in the days leading up to this game. But a bunch of long balls put the Astros ahead in this best-of-five series.
Houston’s pop backed up a solid start by Justin Verlander, who bested Corey Kluber in a matchup of Cy Young Award-winning aces in the first postseason meeting between these teams. Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed two hits and two runs in five and a third innings for his 12th career playoff win.
Kluber, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who was coming off his first 20-win season, was tagged for three home runs in four and two-thirds innings. It was a repeat performance from last October’s division series, when he made two starts against the Yankees and left with a 12.79 earned run average.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon in Houston.