Alvarez ignites the Astros with a duo of home runs.

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Alvarez ignites the Astros with a duo of home runs.

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Altuve immediately set the tone with a leadoff home run in the opening frame.

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In the American League Division Series opener against the Twins, Yordan Alvarez made a resounding statement with a two-run blast in the third inning. His celebratory bat flip after this powerful hit was so extravagant that it could have been observed from space.

As if that weren’t enough, Alvarez achieved another incredible feat by sending a home run soaring four innings later, with his bat practically reaching orbital heights.

In an exhilarating performance, Alvarez recorded his first multi-homer game in postseason play, propelling the Astros to a 6-4 victory over the Twins in Game 1 of the ALDS. The impressive showcase unfolded before an announced sellout crowd of 43,024 at Minute Maid Park.

ALDS Game 2, sponsored by Booking.com, is scheduled for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on FS1.

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Jose Altuve set the stage for Houston’s triumph with a leadoff home run on the very first pitch he faced. However, it was Alvarez who stole the spotlight, serving as a compelling reminder of why he is regarded as one of the most formidable power hitters in baseball.

[Alvarez is] undoubtedly one of the finest left-handed hitters I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside, and one of the most impressive hitters I’ve ever played with,” remarked starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who delivered six scoreless innings on his way to securing the victory. “So, in moments like these, it’s not at all surprising to witness his incredible capabilities.

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Regrettably for opposing pitchers, Alvarez’s prowess at the plate remains a challenge, regardless of which side of the mound they choose to attack him from.

Alvarez’s first home run occurred when facing Twins right-hander Bailey Ober. In their initial encounter, Ober managed to make the vaunted slugger swing through an elevated four-seamer, resulting in a strikeout. However, in the third inning, their paths crossed once more, and this time Ober hung a changeup, which Alvarez promptly launched out to right field.

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As Minnesota staged a comeback against Houston’s bullpen, narrowing the deficit to just one run in the seventh inning, the Astros needed insurance runs. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli made the decision to bring in left-hander Caleb Thielbar, who had not surrendered a home run to a left-handed hitter all season. That changed on Saturday.

Thielbar delivered a sweeping pitch down and away that clipped a corner of the strike zone, and Alvarez seized the opportunity. He watched the ball soar for a moment, and when it made contact with the right-field foul pole, he jubilantly spiked his bat as he embarked on his journey around the bases.

This memorable moment adds to Alvarez’s ever-growing list of clutch performances for the Astros in postseason play. Reflecting on his approach in high-pressure situations, he conveyed, “[I] try not to think about the situation, try not to think about the noise. [I] just say to myself, ‘I’m the only one that can get the job done at this moment.

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During the regular season, Alvarez displayed no significant struggles in platoon matchups, although his slugging percentage was notably higher against right-handed pitchers (.625) compared to left-handed pitchers (.507).

Baldelli commented on facing Alvarez, stating, “You’d still probably rather take your chances bringing your good lefties in there and giving guys an opportunity to get him out. He just hit an off-speed pitch, stayed through it, and found the barrel. He’s strong. He doesn’t have to get all of it to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

The Astros and Twins arrived at the ALDS with distinctly different recent histories. Houston, with a rich postseason tradition, had reached the ALCS in each of the previous six years. In contrast, Minnesota celebrated its first postseason victory in nearly two decades as it swept Toronto in the best-of-three Wild Card Series.

Since 2003, the Astros have led all of Major League Baseball with an impressive 70 postseason wins, while the Twins’ four victories during that period ranked among the fewest. Leading up to Saturday’s game, Houston’s veteran players emphasized the advantage of their previous October experience.

In Game 1, it was indeed experience that prevailed, starting with the Astros’ longest-tenured player.

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Jose Altuve wasted no time and crushed a first-pitch fastball from Ober, with Statcast projecting the hit to travel 377 feet, landing in the train tracks in left field. This electrifying leadoff home run ignited the hometown crowd and marked the third leadoff blast in Astros playoff history. Altuve’s impressive tally of 24 postseason home runs now trails only Manny Ramirez (29).

After a challenging start to the 2022 playoffs, where he endured an 0-for-25 slump and failed to drive in a single run during the Astros’ journey to their second World Series championship, Altuve needed just one pitch to set Houston’s 2023 postseason campaign off on the right foot.

Manager Dusty Baker commented on the impact of Altuve’s home run, saying, “That really got the fans into it right away. There was a lot of electricity in the building, and after that homer … things caught on fire quickly.

Reference:

https://www.mlb.com/news/yordan-alvarez-multihomer-game-1-2023-alds#:~:text=HOUSTON%20%2D%2D%20When%20Yordan%20Alvarez,launched%20his%20bat%20into%20orbit.

https://www.foxsports.com/stories/mlb/yordan-alvarez-reintroduces-himself-to-playoffs-with-two-homers-in-astros-win-over-twins

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