If there is any league match that can be counted on as having low goals, it is the number one game. Typically, both teams deliver the ball to their best arms, hoping to shut down the opposing racket to seize the upper hand in the chain.

But the Red Sox and Astros gave an early indication on Friday that their ALCS would be high-score. Both strong offenders scored a double-digit total of hits, and only by going 1 for 16 with the runners in the scoring position and leaving 18 runners at the base, were they able to keep the score at 5-4, with the Astros in control.

The Astros bowlers settled after allowing three runs into the top of the third set, and Jose Altov and Carlos Correa fired key kicks in the sixth and seventh innings to lead Houston to victory in the first game.

There was a lot to reflect on during the opening of the series. Here are three takeaways from it.

MORE: 2021 MLB Postseason schedule

Kiké Hernandez continues to dominate

Hernandez made his mark in the ALDS against the Rays when he helped secure a 14-6 win in Game 2 with a five-stroke performance. He introduced himself, hit three doubles, drove in three runs and scored three times. Finish the hot chain in a silly .450/.429/0.900 slash.

It showed no signs of slowing down on Friday.

Hernandez led the match with a single over Correa’s header, fired Homer singles at the top of Game Three, doubled down on the left at the top for fourth and slipped again at the top of the nine-to-one. The last moments of the Red Sox.

His operations in ALCS after Game 1 are 3.000. Yes, this will play.

This isn’t just a tear that players keep going through the post-season. According to Statheed, Hernandez’s 13 successes in four ALDS games and one ALCS game tied for more than any player in MLB history in a five-game span in the Live Ball era, and Joins Albert Pujols, George Brett and Robin Unit As the only players in MLB history to have multiple four-stroke games in their post-season career.

MLB’s Sarah Lange has more on his impressive career.

Jose Altov, Carlos Correa is still the spark of Houston

It’s safe to say the Astros would be far from where they are without Altuve and Correa.

Altuve has been with the team since the Dark Ages — his first two full seasons in the major leagues, Houston lost 107 and 111 games in consecutive seasons — but it was clear that he would be the spark for the franchise’s move forward. Correa was considered a turning point in the rebuilding. In their 2015 rookie campaign, the Astros reached the playoffs for the first time since losing the World Championship in 2005.

Now deep into the Astros’ tenure, and perhaps on their last tour of Korea with the club, the two are still ahead in the clutch.

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Altuve scored Houston’s first on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He coughed a foul at a defining moment that put Boston ahead in third, but made up for it by two sets, no doubt Homer tied the match 3-3 at the bottom of the sixth.

Correa then hit a giant shot from the left in seventh to give Houston a 4-3 lead. Altuve hit the sacrificial fly in the eighth that proved pivotal; Houston gave the lead twice, enough to survive Homer Hernandez in ninth.

These players have proven time and time again that they will never have a stage fright in the spotlight. Homer Altuve pushed him ahead of Albert Pujols and George Springer on the home post-season roster with his 20th, which is good for a tie with Derek Jeter for third all-time. His two goals put him past Chipper Jones to fifth all-time with 60 in the playoffs. His career win probability has been added 2.2 to 10th all-time.

Korea was like a clutch. His career 2.6 WPA career puts him in fifth place all time. Homer moved him beyond the Pujols to fifth all-time with 55 postseason RBIs and into a tie with Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Nelson Cruz for seventh at home with 18.

These two are making their sixth post-season trip together and providing even more excitement for Houston fans. They’ve also shown in Game 1 that, in terms of promotion in Boston, they’ll be the bats to beat in the series.

Chris Salle is fighting back

Sale has been one of the league’s top shooters throughout his career, and that held true at the end of the 2021 regular season as he returned from the Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2020 season and most of last season.

But he did not participate in the playoffs.

In his first post-season start, he only lasted one inning as he gave up five runs – four comebacks at the Grand Slam – in four strokes and walked with two hits against Rays Rays.

He didn’t do much better on Friday. The sale was removed in the third inning with runners in first, second and two out. Loyal Adam Ottavino saved him by scoring the first-round final to keep Boston’s 3-1 lead.

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Sale again had no walking issues (only one free pass), but gave up five hits and only hit two to go with the one run allowed. Five hits against him were deemed “hard hits” (exit speed 95 mph or higher), According to Baseball Savant.

Part of his problems stem from the mix of his offerings. The sale has never seen a dominant change, but it has been particularly bad this season. His rackets hit 0.67 against the field during the regular season, and he’s wiped him all out of his repertoire in the first two games after the season after throwing more than 20 percent during the regular season and nearly that average in his career. He’s used it once against rays and only four times against the Astros.

The result is that hitters are getting better at anticipating what he’s going to throw next. While his passing puff average was 33 percent against Houston, right up there with his clip of 32 percent of the regular season, Fastball’s blank hitters came in just 16 percent of the time, well below 27.5 percent of the regular season, According to Baseball Savant.

Even with his slider, he wasn’t taking the kinds of chases out of the area he’d normally used to. Sale mostly focused on and inside this court on the right hitter – off the left – and found his place with her. But of the 13 slides out of the area on Friday, only two were inhaled while two ran for strikes.

If he was to go back to being an Ace Sox, he would need to take back his cheat.

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