HOUSTON (AP) - George Springer and the Houston Astros picked up right where they left off last postseason, hitting four home runs to power past the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Friday in Game 1 of the AL Division Series.
Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Martin Maldonado also connected for the Astros, who hit a World Series-record 15 homers last year in winning their first championship.
Much was made about the pitching prowess these teams possess in the days leading up to this game. But it was a bunch of longballs to put the Astros ahead in this best-of-five series.
Houston's pop backed up a solid start by Justin Verlander, who bested Corey Kluber in a matchup of Cy Young Award-winning aces in the first postseason meeting between these teams. Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed two hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings for his 12th career playoff win.
Kluber, a two-time Cy Young winner who was coming off his first 20-win season, was tagged for three home runs in 4 2/3 innings. It was a repeat performance from last October's ALDS, when he made two starts against the Yankees and left with a 12.79 ERA.
Game 2 is Saturday in Houston.