Youthful Astros launch ALDS with road win over Royals

Fri Oct 9, 2015 1:05am EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Astros' youth brigade set the tone with some deft small ball and finished off the reigning American League champion Kansas City Royals with home runs in claiming the upper hand in their AL Division Series.

"There's no doubt the first inning set the tone and gave the team a little bit of an exhale, coming into an environment like this against the defending American League champions," said Houston manager A.J. Hinch.

"We came out loose, came out firing."

Jose Altuve, 25, led off the game against Royals flame-thrower Yordano Ventura with a single to left. George Springer, 26, worked a walk and Carlos Correa, 21, singled to right to load the bases with no outs.

Ground outs by Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis each produced a run to give the Astros a 2-0 lead and a flying start on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Royals in Kansas City in Game One of the best-of-five.

"We put together some good at-bats in the first inning and we started with the right foot today and I'm happy we won the game," said Venezuelan All-Star Altuve, the spark plug of an Astros team making their first postseason appearance in 10 years.

"We know the kind of team we are. We're trusting ourselves. Everybody knows we have a lot of talent in that dugout and players that are hungry to win."

Houston's youngsters combined for another tally in the second when center-fielder Jake Marisnick, 24, doubled to left-center and came around to score on a single from Altuve.   Continued...

Oct 8, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Luke Gregerson (left) celebrates with manager A.J. Hinch (14) after defeating the Kansas City Royals in game one of the ALDS at Kauffman Stadium. John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports