Astros Rocket Past Red Sox, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Justin Verlander talks to the media before Thursday’s Game

Correa homered, doubled and drove in four runs, Altuve got two more hits and the Astros battered the Boston Red Sox 8-2 Friday to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.

Sale, who made his postseason debut after seven years of missing out with the Chicago White Sox, seemed trapped in a bad dream.

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The Astros continued to get the better of Sale as Altuve hit his second home run of the game, extending the Astros' lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Later in the game, he drills Reed's pitch and sends it to left field to score Jose Altuve from first and George Springer from second to bust open the lead to 7-1. This was also the case past year with regards to the Red Sox clinching the division. He improved to (3-0) and lowered his ERA to 0.96 in October after going 5.2 innings allowing 2 hits and just 1 run. The Houston Astros face off against the Boston Red Sox. Should Boston's series against Houston go four games, the Red Sox would likely call on Sale again and hope for better results. Then the series will switch to Boston on Sunday for Game 3, with a potential Game 4 also scheduled there for Monday. He drilled a ball opposite field off the right-center wall to score two runs, putting the Astros up 4-2.

Barring a 12-2 win for Houston, and a 7-1 win for Boston through that seven game stretch, four of the other games were decided by a single run, showing just how close these two teams are when they're both firing on all cylinders. Fister has a strong playoff track record, but his earned run average was 4.88 this season. And speaking of third homers, Altuve would hit his third homer of the game in the seventh inning off reliever Austin Maddox, becoming the ninth player in postseason history to hit three homers in a game. "We gotta take a step back on the off day". Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the game live.

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Encarnacion was on crutches and wearing a boot on his sprained right ankle Saturday, but manager Terry Francona said the designated hitter hadn't been ruled out of Sunday's game at Yankee Stadium. "But I think it's pretty safe to say, given how he went down today, he would not be available".

Altuve, whose 24 homers this season matched a career high, said he had never hit three in a game at any level, even as a boy in Venezuela. The Red Sox are a +120 underdog and the over-under is set at 9.5. Those hinge largely on Doug Fister, the journeyman right-hander who lost to the Astros last Friday. They are young and don't have David Ortiz so it's going to be tough to win this best-of-five series. The Yankees might be bring in bigger TV ratings, but don't Houston fans deserve some chance of being able to watch a game without having to miss work? Jon Lester (13-8) starts for the defending World Series champions against Gio Gonzalez (15-9) and Washington after two-time Cy Young Award victor Max Scherzer was pushed back to Game 3 because of a tender hamstring.

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The bullpen has been one of the Red Sox' major strengths throughout the season and the team would be wise to ease the load on the Game 3 starter by leaning on relief pitchers.

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