Astros’ Yordan Alvarez smashes homer to stun Mariners, Yankees ready to face Guardians

Wild-card series down, Division Series here we come. MLB’s 12-team postseason bracket has already been whittled down to eight contenders. Now, the top two seeds in each league are ready to join the fray. After advancing directly to their ALDS and NLDS slots via byes, the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers and Braves will face challengers.

This means aces on the mound. The day begins with Max Fried for the Braves, continues with AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander taking the hill in Houston and Gerrit Cole leaving for the Yankees, and ends with NL ERA leader Julio Urias recovering the ball for the Dodgers. Their opponents, who are coming off hard-fought wins, will use No. 3 starters and hope to roll the ball to upset wins.

All four series begin on a busy day of baseball on Tuesday. Here is the full schedule and TV information:

Game 1: Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Yankees – 7:37 p.m., TBS

Game 1: San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – 9:37 p.m., FS1

Yordan Alvarez clears walk-in homer to crush Mariners dream game

For 26 outings in the ALDS opener, legend Julio Rodriguez and the drought-fighting young Mariners looked stronger than legend Justin Verlander. But it was no stronger than the legend of Yordan Alvarez.

The mammoth slugger smashed a two-out three-run homer in the ninth inning, sending the Houston crowd into a frenzy and stunning the Mariners.

The day had started with the young Mariners jumping all over AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander. Led by Rodriguez — who had two extra hits and three runs — the Mariners dumped 10 hits and six runs on Verlander in four innings. But the Astros gave it up. Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman homered to bring the Astros within two in the final innings.

Then, in the ninth inning, Mariners reliever Paul Sewald hit David Hensley and gave up a single to Jeremy Pena. With Alvarez already having two RBIs that day, Mariners manager Scott Servais turned to left-handed starter Robbie Ray to get the final. It did not work.

Alvarez, whose .306/.406/.613 line made him the second-best hitter in baseball behind Aaron Judge this year, fouled a fastball then sent the next into orbit.

Seattle’s fortunes could not have turned much more precipitously. With a win, they could have secured a 1-0 lead with a road win and sent dominating ace Luis Castillo to the mound in Game 2 with the chance to take a decisive series lead. Instead, the Astros will be favored to make their sixth straight ALCS.

Phillies keep line moving, hang in there for Game 1 win over Braves

Do you like rallies? You might like the Phillies. After just entering the playoffs, the Phillies have won three straight — first sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals and now winning Game 1 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves’ 101 win streak. Tuesday’s series-changing win came thanks to a parade of hits.

Nick Castellanos led the way with 3 hits and 3 RBIs as the Phillies knocked Atlanta ace Max Fried out of the game early and then held on. Ranger Suarez started for the Phillies, allowing 1 run in 3 1/3 innings, then turned it over to a Phillies bullpen who used six pitchers to finish it off. Newly named closer Zach Eflin held on to give Philly the win despite a furious ninth-inning Braves comeback attempt.

You can catch all the action right here on Yahoo Sports.

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