What we're watching: Can Tigers add to Boston's misery?

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– Finally back home, if only briefly, after losing six in a row at Tampa Bay and New York, the Red Sox will face the Tigers to start a four-game series tonight. The opener, though, looks like the toughest matchup of the series for Boston, as Edwin Jackson and the struggling Brad Penny are due to square off. Jackson is 2-4 with a 5.44 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, but he hasn’t faced them during his breakthrough season. Jackson ranks second in the AL with a 2.62 ERA, and he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start since May 4. Penny has given up 12 runs over 11 innings in back-to-back losses, and the Red Sox have lost six of his last seven starts.
– The Rays didn’t take full advantage of Boston’s losses while dropping two out of three in Seattle over the weekend. Now they’re facing the Angels in Anaheim, but they caught a big break in missing both John Lackey and Jered Weaver in the series. Sean O’Sullivan will start for the Angels tonight, followed by Ervin Santana and Trevor Bell. The Rays will use Matt Garza in this one. He has a 3.21 ERA since the All-Star break and a 3.63 mark overall. His .222 average against ranks second in the AL behind Jackson’s .217.
Game of the Night
L.A. Dodgers vs. San Francisco – The Dodgers have dropped 10 of their last 15 games to shrink their NL West lead to 5 1/2 games over the Giants and Rockies. They’ll be sending Hiroki Kuroda to the mound tonight in a bid to halt their current losing streak. While the Dodgers are struggling overall, they’re 4-0 in the right-hander’s starts since the All-Star break. The Giants will start Jonathan Sanchez, who has won back-to-back starts to improve to 5-9 with a 4.49 ERA for the season. Odds are that something will have to give tonight. Both Kuroda (in four starts) and Sanchez (in five) are winless in Dodger-Giant games in their careers.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.

UPDATE: Game 1 of Astros-Royals resumes play after 47-minute rain delay

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas watches his two-run home run off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana, also scoring Kendrys Morales, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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UPDATE: Play has resumed after a 47-minute rain delay. Chris Young has replaced Ventura for the Royals.

8:30 p.m. ET: And now we’re officially in a rain delay in Kansas City. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts and how it might impact Ventura and McHugh.

8:29 p.m. ET: The Royals are on the board in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Astros.

After the Astros tacked on another run against Yordano Ventura in the top of the second inning on an RBI single from Jose Altuve, Kendrys Morales connected for a solo homer against Collin McHugh to lead off the bottom of the inning. The ball traveled an estimated 369 feet near the right-field foul pole.

With rain falling at Kauffman Stadium, the Astros lead 3-1 as we move into the top of the third inning.