Tuesday, December 6, 2022

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MLB Divisional Series: Phillies, Astros, Yankees, Dodgers win on Day 1

We’ve shrunk to eight teams for the 2022 postseason after losing four last weekend in the first-ever weekend of the MLB Wildcard Series. Now on to the league division series: four series, best-of-five, first team to win three pushes.

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the defending champion Atlanta Braves in the first game of the Division Series round on Tuesday. In a clash between AL West rivals, the Houston Astros defeated the Seattle Mariner in a dramatic walk-off. The New York Yankees defeated the Cleveland Guardians in Game 1 of the second ALDS, and finally, an intra-divisional showdown resulted in the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the San Diego Padres in the second NLDS opener game.

Here’s a recap of all the action from Day 1.

More: Everything You Need to Know About the 2022 MLB Playoffs|LDS Matchups Preview| Could this be the greatest postseason…ever?| Bracket, results and more

Dodgers lead 1-0

The Dodgers have consistently spoken out about the depth and talent of their bullpen despite the uncertainty at the back end — and that confidence was validated in their postseason opener. The Padres cut a five-run deficit to two with a big fifth inning against Julio Urias, but then four Dodgers removers — Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol and Chris Martin — kept the Padres scoreless in the last four innings for a Game 1 win.

The usage offered an early glimpse into the Dodgers’ bullpen strategy. Manager Dave Roberts used Phillips, their most effective assist this season, in the sixth inning because the best part of the Padres’ lineup was due. Vesia, a left-hander, came back to face left-hander Juan Soto. And for the last four outs, it was Graterol and Martin. The order will no doubt change during the postseason, with Tommy Kahnle and perhaps eventually Blake Treinen serving up in high-leverage situations. But the Dodgers clearly feel good enough about their depth. – Alden Gonzalez

When the Padres made a throw in the sixth inning, Phillips brought Wil Myers to a double play and ended the threat.

Myers’ 376-foot home run just made it over the wall to give the Padres their first run of the night. Runs from Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim cut the Dodgers’ lead to two.

At the end of the third, Will Smith hit a ball deep into left field for a brace that brought Trea Turner home and extended the Dodgers’ lead to three. After a Max Muncy single, LA added another run thanks to a double from Gavin Lux that brought Smith home.

A loaded bases walk and a Padres error helped add two more runs and take the lead for Los Angeles to 5-0.

Trea Turner put the Dodgers ahead in the first inning with a 419-foot blaster down left field.

Yankees lead series 1-0

The Yankees needed Gerrit Cole to be at the top of their game and he delivered. Over the course of 6 1/3 innings, Cole only allowed one run on four hits – a home run for Steven Kwan – while making a walker and hitting eight. The game almost fell apart against Cole in the third inning after Cleveland loaded the bases with an out following Kwan’s home run, but Cole managed to get out of the inning unscathed.

Meanwhile, on the plate, the Yankees relied on a solo homer from Harrison Bader to level the game, a sacrifice fly from Jose Trevino to take the lead and a two-run shot from Anthony Rizzo into the second deck of the right Felds to extend the lead 4-1. That provided a cushion for the bullpen, which was held together on the backs of Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes. – Joon Lee

It wouldn’t be a game at Yankee Stadium without a lot of home runs. Speaking of which, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run thingy to extend New York’s lead.

Josh Donaldson thought he had a starting shot for the home run… and was caught between first and second base when it was revealed the ball had bounced off the top of the wall instead. Replay confirmed this, and Yankee fans were less than thrilled. Luckily for the Bronx Bombers, a miss by Oscar Gonzalez off the right field wall resulted in a victim fly and a weak lead.

Harrison Bader tied things up for New York with a home run to left field. It’s Bader’s first home run as a member of the Yankees.

The Guardians’ powerful postseason continues, with Steven Kwan opening the scoring with a 360-foot home run to right field.

Astro leads 1-0

The Mariners were on their way to stealing home field advantage in their ALDS, and then the Astros did what the Astros always seem to do in October. Bottom nine. two on two out Jordan Alvarez at the plate. And Robbie Ray, reigning AL Cy Young winner, Seattle’s offseason $115 million free agent prize, walked in to win the left-to-left match. Alvarez fouled a fastball. He didn’t miss the next one. And 439 feet later, a 117-mph rocket landed in the right field stand, propelling the Astros to an 8-7 Game 1 win. Houston trailed 7-3 after Justin Verlander’s worst playoff start and looked finished , until it was ‘t. And it continued a trend that has proven extremely fruitful in recent years: six straight postseasons, six straight Game 1 wins of the ALDS. -Jeff Passan

The Astros used the most brutal weapon possible to troll the Mariners: math.

Alvarez’s walk-off home run propelled Houston into the series opener’s win column.

Alex Bregman’s 403-foot homer drove Alvarez home and narrowed Seattle’s lead to 7-5 by the end of the eighth inning.

Seattle extended their lead thanks to Eugenio Suarez’s solo home run.

The Astros’ first goal came in the third inning thanks to a brace from Yordan Alvarez that drove home Jose Altuve and Chas McCormick. Yuli Gurriel hit a 373-foot home run on her third run of the game, cutting Seattle’s lead to three.

Seattle’s hot start continued into the second inning with runs from Rodriguez, Adam Frazier and Jarred Kelenic.

Julio Rodriguez pulled a leadoff walk from Justin Verlander to start the game. Ty France’s goal put him in third place, and Cal Raleigh’s RBI single allowed Rodriguez to score the first run of the game.

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources couldn’t resist making a joke about Houston’s sign-theft scandal.

The very helpful apology. Especially for a 2:37 p.m. local time launch.

Phillies lead series 1-0

The Phillies’ offense developed with a different feel during the playoffs than the long ball-or-bust version we’ve seen most of the season. In Tuesday’s NLDS Game 1 win, they peppered Brave’s pitching with 10 hits — Nick Castellanos had three of them — and seven runs in the first five innings without hitting a home run.

When they weren’t filling bases via singles and doubles, Philadelphia played small ball and attempted three sacrificial bunts, including one each from hitters Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. Two of those brusque attempts succeeded, leading to two more small-ball moments: sacrifice flies from Alec Bohm in the third inning and Matt Vierling in the fifth -6 win after the Braves made it interesting with a three-run ninth inning.

It’s not something you can find in the boxing score, but the Phillies’ quick start — coupled with the Mariners catching Astros ace Justin Verlander early in their own division opener — makes it worth wondering if it is a remainder vs. rust advantage to come into play hot after a win in the wild card round against a team that hasn’t played in almost a week. – Jesse Rogers

Nick Castellanos makes a jump catch for second in the ninth inning en route to a Philly win.

Matt Olson hits a three-run blaster with an out in the ninth, reducing the Phillies’ deficit to just one run — and giving the Braves some late-game hope.

Travis D’Arnaud earned his second and third RBI of the game with a double that brought home William Contreras and Olson – which put him to blame for all of Atlanta’s first three runs.

Philadelphia lives by the baseball adage that “two hits will get you to heaven.” Atlanta’s first goal came from the long ball.

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