MLB·MLB PLAYOFFS

Rowdy Tellez uses home run, defence to spark Brewers to Game 1 win in NLDS

Rowdy Tellez spoiled Charlie Morton's gem with a two-run homer in the seventh inning and threw out a runner at home plate, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over Atlanta 2-1 Friday in the opener of their NLDS. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros claimed a 2-0 series lead on the Chicago White Sox.

Giants blank Dodgers; Red Sox level series with Rays; Astros take 2-game lead on White Sox

Rowdy Tellez of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after hitting a two-run home run during a 2-1 win over Atlanta on Friday. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Rowdy Tellez spoiled Charlie Morton's gem with a two-run homer in the seventh inning and threw out a runner at home plate, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over Atlanta 2-1 Friday in the opener of their NL Division Series.

Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser and Josh Hader combined on a four-hitter that gave Milwaukee the early lead in this best-of-five series. Game 2 is Saturday in Milwaukee.

Former Brewer Orlando Arcia grounded to second with runners on the corners to end the game. That came after Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez — who combined with first baseman Tellez on a key first-inning double play — blocked Hader's 1-2 pitch in the dirt to keep Freddie Freeman at third base.

Neither team produced much offense until the Brewers finally broke through in the seventh.

After Charlie Morton (0-1) hit Avisail Garcia with a 1-2 pitch to start the inning, Tellez ripped another 1-2 offering from Morton over the centre-field wall to break a scoreless tie. The hefty, bearded slugger had gone 1 of 13 against Atlanta this season until delivering that 411-foot drive.

Tellez was activated from the injured list Saturday after missing about three weeks with a right patella strain.

Atlanta's Joc Pederson lofted a pinch-hit homer off Houser (1-0) with two outs in the eighth.

Morton's 85th and final pitch to Tellez was among the few mistakes he made all day. He struck out nine, walked one and hit a batter to continue his recent history of exceptional postseason performances.

Burnes was every bit as good in his first career postseason start.

The NL Cy Young Award contender opened the game with two straight walks and threw 40 pitches in the first two innings but settled down from there. The right-hander struck out six and gave up two hits and three walks in six shutout innings, throwing 91 pitches.

After Atlanta put runners on the corners with nobody out but failed to score in the top of the first, nobody got a runner past first base until Tellez homered.

Neither team had a hit until Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain's one-out single to right in the third. Atlanta's first hit off Burnes came when Eddie Rosario led off the fifth with a bloop single to centre.

Webb spins gem to lead Giants past Dodgers

Logan Webb struck out 10 pitching masterfully in his postseason debut, Buster Posey hit a two-run homer that held up, and the 107-win San Francisco Giants blanked the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 in the opener of their NL Division Series.

Those two Giants standouts summed up this year perfectly for the NL West champs: A brilliant performance by the young right-hander supported by a veteran catcher who has shined on this big October stage so many times before.

Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford also homered to back a combined five-hitter by Webb and a pair of relievers.

Webb celebrates after striking out Trea Turner in the sixth inning. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Everybody knows this matchup between century-old rivals takes this best-of-five playoff series to another level. They finished with baseball's two best records, the division coming down to the final day as the Dodgers wound up one game back with 106 wins, ending their run of eight consecutive West crowns.

That meant Los Angeles had to get by the Cardinals in the wild-card game Wednesday night then fly straight to the Bay Area.

The Dodgers will try to even the series when they send 20-game winner Julio Urias to the mound for Game 2 on Saturday night opposite Giants All-Star right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Webb waved his pitching hand walking off to a rousing ovation in the eighth after a two-out single by Mookie Betts. He didn't walk a batter.

Tyler Rogers relieved for the final out in the eighth and Camilo Doval worked the ninth.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler, making his own playoff debut on the dugout's top step, had absolute confidence the 24-year-old Webb would shine in the biggest start of his life. Just last Sunday, Webb pitched the Giants past the Padres in the regular-season finale as San Francisco clinched the club's first division title since 2012. Webb hasn't lost since May 5 at Colorado.

Featuring a changeup and slider, Webb was in total command.

Tommy La Stella hit a pair of singles and played sparkling defence, getting things started by drawing a five-pitch walk from Buehler in the bottom of the first.

That set things up for Posey, who sat out last year's coronavirus-shortened season to care for prematurely born adopted twin girls. He clobbered a 3-0 pitch into a water-spraying pillar above the right-field arcade with two outs in the first to send the orange-towel waving sellout crowd of 41,934 into a frenzy.

Kapler said Posey could play every post-season game, and why not? At age 34, the veteran catcher started five of the final six regular-season games and 10 of 13 overall to end the season. This marked his first postseason home run since Game 4 of the 2012 World Series at Detroit off Max Scherzer.

This is the first post-season meeting between the storied franchises whose history goes way back to their days in New York. In 1951 and 1962 the teams faced off in a best-of-three NL tiebreaker with the Giants winning each of those in three.

Webb dazzled on a night San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Steve Young led the "Beat LA!" chant before first pitch. Home run king Barry Bonds drew a standing ovation, stood and waved when shown on the big screen in the middle innings sitting with NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin.

Bo Sox bomb Rays to level ALDS

J.D. Martinez hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Boston Red Sox backed Tanner Houck's clutch relief effort with a franchise postseason record five home runs, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 14-6 Friday night to even their AL Division Series at a game each.

Kike Hernandez had five of Boston's 20 hits, including a homer and three doubles, becoming Boston's first player with four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers also connected for the Red Sox, who rallied for a blowout win after ace Chris Sale allowed a first-inning grand slam to Jordan Luplow and was pulled following just three outs.

Hernandez's leadoff homer in the fifth off Collin McHugh tied it before Martinez went deep against Matt Wisler (0-1) four batters later.

Houck (1-0) kept Boston in the game after Sale was rocked for five runs in the first inning. The rookie right-hander came out of the bullpen to start the second inning and allowed one run and two hits over five frames, retiring his first 11 batters before yielding a two-out single to Wander Franco in the fifth.

Ji-Man Choi entered as a defensive replacement for Luplow and had the only other hit off Houck, a two-out solo homer in the sixth. Houck struck out five.

Martinez had four hits after missing Tuesday night's wild-card victory over the New York Yankees and Game 1 of the ALDS with a sprained left ankle. He was injured stumbling over second base while heading to the outfield during last weekend's regular-season finale at Washington.

"It felt all right hitting," Martinez said. "Didn't feel good running, but felt all right hitting."

Bogaerts, Verdugo and Hernandez had solo shots to steady the staggering Red Sox, who lost the opener 5-0 Thursday night. Martinez then delivered the lead.

Verdugo also stole an out in left field, leaning over the short wall in foul territory in the sixth inning to catch Nelson Cruz's popup.

Devers' two-run homer off Michael Wacha hiked Boston's advantage to 11-6 in the eighth. Christian Vazquez had an RBI infield single in the ninth, which Hernandez followed with a two-run single. Bogaerts, Verdugo and Vazquez had three hits each.

The Rays hadn't allowed 14 runs in a game since Boston beat them 20-6 on Aug. 11.

Rays rookie lefty Shane Baz became the second pitcher in big league history to start a playoff game with three or fewer career regular-season appearances. Matt Moore was the other, doing it with the Rays in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS at Texas.

Astros take 2-0 series lead on White Sox

Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are relentless at the plate and in the field.

That's why they are so tough to beat in the playoffs.

Correa hit a two-run double during Houston's five-run seventh inning, and the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4 on Friday for a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series.

Kyle Tucker homered and drove in three runs as the Astros moved within one win of their fifth straight appearance in the AL Championship Series. Alex Bregman had two hits and scored twice, and Jose Altuve made a couple of big plays.

Game 3 of the best-of-five series is Sunday night in Chicago.

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hits a two-run double during a 9-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Astros grabbed the lead for good on Yordan Alvarez's tiebreaking RBI single off Aaron Bummer (0-1) with one out in the seventh. Craig Kimbrel then took over and retired Yuli Gurriel before Correa's drive to right sailed just past a sprinting Leury Garcia.

Correa screamed and gestured to the crowd to yell with him as he reached second. The star shortstop is eligible for free agency after this season, and it's going to be quite costly for the AL West champion Astros to keep him.

Tucker then punctuated the inning with a two-run shot into the seats in left, lifting Houston to a 9-4 lead.

The Astros rolled to a 6-1 win in Game 1 behind a splendid start by Lance McCullers Jr. Framber Valdez struggled in Game 2, allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

The White Sox grabbed a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fifth. Luis Robert and Jose Abreu each hit an RBI single, and Yasmani Grandal added a sacrifice fly.

But the Astros tied it in the bottom half on Yuli Gurriel's two-run single. It was the first hit of the series for the AL batting champion.

The loss drops the AL Central champion White Sox to 0-6 in Houston this season. They are trying to avoid another early postseason exit after they were eliminated by Oakland in the first round last year.

Houston's bullpen shut down the White Sox after the early exit by Valdez, with five relievers combining for 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball. Ryne Stanek (1-0) worked the seventh for the win.

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