ST. PETERSBURG (AP) — Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit a home run and steal home in a postseason game, and rookie Shane McClanahan pitched the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in their AL Division Series opener Thursday night.
The breakout star of October last year, Arozarena made a breathtaking dash to the plate in the seventh inning for the first straight steal of home in the postseason since Jackie Robinson did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers against Yogi Berra and the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series, according to the FS1 broadcast.
Nelson Cruz also homered and McClanahan (1-0) tossed five stellar innings for the Rays.
Young Wander Franco also sparkled in his playoff debut, delivering an early RBI double off Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1) that speedy 2020 postseason star Arozarena scored on from first base to get the defending AL champions off to a quick start.
ASTROS 6, WHITE SOX 1
HOUSTON (AP) — Lance McCullers Jr. pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning and Houston beat Lance Lynn (0-1) and Chicago in Game 1 of their AL Division Series.
Michael Brantley added two hits and two RBIs as the AL West champions showed off their playoff experience in an impressive opening performance. McCullers (1-0) allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings in his eighth career postseason start.
While Houston is in the playoffs for the fifth straight season, winning the World Series in 2017 and making it to the AL Championship Series last year, Chicago is making a second straight playoff appearance for the first time in franchise history. It lost to Oakland in the first round in 2020.
Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI double in the third and a solo homer in the fifth. Jose Altuve wowed the crowd of 40,497 when he slid home and slapped the back of the plate just ahead of Yasmani Grandal's tag in the third.