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Lance McCullers, Houston Astros beat Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of ALDS

Lance McCullers, Houston Astros beat Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of ALDS
Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. throws a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox during Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Photo by Maria Lysaker/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Lance McCullers Jr. outdueled Lance Lynn as the Houston Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.

McCullers carried a shutout into the seventh inning before giving way to the bullpen. He allowed only four hits over 6 2/3 innings and recorded four strikeouts, walking none in his outing to earn the win.

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Veteran outfielder Michael Brantley added two hits and two RBIs as the AL West champions displayed their playoff experience in the team's first playoff game of the 2021 season.

The Astros are competing in the postseason for the fifth consecutive season, winning the World Series in 2017 and reaching the AL Championship Series last year.

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The White Sox are making their second straight playoff appearance for the first time in franchise history. Chicago lost to the Oakland A's in the first round last season.

Rookie outfielder Jake Meyers drove in the first run of the game in the second inning to give Houston an early 1-0 lead. The Astros added two more runs in the third when Alex Bregman scored Jose Altuve on a fielder's choice and Yordan Alvarez doubled Bregman home.

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Brantley's two-RBI double increased the Astros' lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Alvarez made it 6-0 with a 411-foot solo home run an inning later.

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White Sox slugger and reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu prevented a shutout with an RBI single in the top of the eighth, bringing the final score to 6-1.

Lynn was tagged for six hits and five runs across 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander had four strikeouts to two walks and was credited with the loss.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Friday in Houston.

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