Altuve Crushes Sox, 8-2
MVP Hopeful's 3 HRs Pace Game 1 Win

Altuve: To Chants of M-V-P
(c) USA Today
The Astros took a strong first step in the Best-of-Five A.L.D.S. Thursday with an 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 1. The Littlest Astro saw to that.

Jose Altuve drilled three home runs to lead the route but it was Marwin Gonzalez' two-run double in the fourth that put Houston ahead to stay. Justin Verlander tossed an effective six innings, allowing two runs on six hits. It wasn't the veteran's sharpest outing since coming to Houston but it got the job done.

Alex Bregman homered off Chris Sale in the first to get the offense started then Altuve hit the first of his trio for an early 2-0 lead but the Sox pecked away at Verlander, eventually tying the contest at 2-2.

That's when Gonzalez doubled to plate Evan Gattis and Josh Reddick for a 4-2 lead. Altuve added his second solo shot in the fifth and Brian McCann smoked a two-run double in sixth before Altuve scored the hat trick with the longest of his three solo blasts for the final run.

A quartet of Astro relievers took over for Verlander and held the fort. Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Francisco Liriano and Joe Musgrove applied the finishing touches.

A #HoustonStrong crowd of 43,102 jammed into Minute Maid for the opener. The Red Sox will trot out another lefty, Drew Pomeranz (17-6), on Friday in hopes of evening the series. Houston's southpaw, Dallas Keuchel (14-5), will challenge for the Astros in the 1:00 PM Central time Game 2 that will be carried on Fox Sports 1.

Earlier, the Astros announced their LDS roster which had some surprises. Lance McCullers made the team over Collin McHugh, Luke Gregerson was tabbed over Tyler Clippard, Liriano got the nod over Tony Sipp and Tyler White was added to the bench over Tony Kemp. Only Liriano has seen action so far in the series but he got a big out in the eighth when he retired Mitch Moreland to snuff out a potential rally.

- Bob Hulsey