Three reasons to blame for ALCS Game 1 loss

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Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora has shuffled his lineup for Game 2 against the Houston Astros, putting infielders Ian Kinsler and Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez in the starting lineup. Reporters say he had words for home plate umpire James Hoye and then ran onto the field and let Joe West have it following his ejection.

Then with two outs in the top of the third inning, Marwin Gonzalez launched a two-run blast over the Green Monster in left field to give the Astros a 4-2 lead. Verlander gave up a hit, walked three, and wild-pitched in a run in the fifth and was lucky to get a call the helped him out of the inning.

In a series where the Red Sox need to find some semblance of hardball perfection to keep their dream season alive, the opening game of the American League Championship playoff was anything but ideal.

The final score quieted an increasingly nervous crowd of 38,007 at Fenway Park and even though it's just one game, seemingly put the Astros in clear early control.

Ninth hitter Josh Reddick and cleanup man Yuli Gurriel both hit home runs in Game 1. This came after the offense scored two runs to tie the game at two in the frame against Justin Verlander.

Benintendi's strikeout ended a sustained Red Sox rally.

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Judged exclusively by the early innings of the boxscore from Saturday's opener of the best-of-seven ALCS, the game unfolded pretty much as billed. And I did. It's kind of like embarrassing that it happens in the playoffs.

Many in Boston's vociferous media chattering class called for Price to be pulled from the rotation and wondered why a guy with such a bummer of a playoff history was given the start in the first place. The last Astros player to safely hit in at least 10 postseason games was former outfielder/infielder Lance Berkman, who set the record with an RBI double and solo home run during the Astros' campaign in the 2004 NLCS. Chris Sale basically said he had nothing.

"That was the pitch the changed the whole game", he said.

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Price, 16-7 in this year's regular season, has two postseason wins in relief in his career.

"It's not that we're trying to hit him, but we have to let him know that we will pitch there because previous year, going into the playoffs that's one thing I told that group".

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