The Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros are the favorites in the American League, and they showed why that's the case on Thursday. First, the Cleveland Indians began their quest back to the World Series with a 4-0 shutout of the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS. Trevor Bauer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and struck out eight over 6.2 innings, taking advantage of a tired New York offense coming off the AL Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins. Jay Bruce led the way on the offensive end against Yankees starter Sonny Gray, as the slugger went deep and drove in three of the four runs for The Tribe. Cody Allen got the call late to get four outs, three via the strikeout, for his first save of the postseason. Meanwhile, the Astros sent their newest ace, Justin Verlander, to the hill on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, and he did exactly what they acquired him to do. Verlander lasted six innings and gave up just two runs, while Jose Altuve went off with three home runs in an 8-2 win in Game 1. Altuve homered in the first, fifth, and seventh innings, all of which were solo blasts, with the first two coming off Red Sox ace Chris Sale. The left-hander went five innings and was charged with seven earned runs in the loss. Altuve is the first Astro with a three-home run game since Carlos Lee did it in 2007. He is also the 10th player overall with a three-home run game in the postseason, and the first since Pablo Sandoval did it in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Both the Indians and Astros will host Game 2 of their respective series on Friday.
NC State Hands Louisville Second Loss
Lamar Jackson is still putting up Heisman Trophy-like numbers, although, his team is struggling as a whole, especially on the defensive end. That came back to haunt them on Thursday night, as No. 24 NC State handed the 17th-ranked Louisville Cardinals their second loss of the season with a 39-25 upset. Nyheim Hines ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, while Ryan Finley threw for another score and finished with 367 yards through the air on the night. The Wolfpack finished with 520 total yards to cancel out Jackson's big performance. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner threw for 354 yards and a touchdown, while running for 73 more yards and two touchdowns in the loss. His late 25-yard pick-six to Germaine Pratt sealed the victory for NC State, as that was the only turnover on the night for the Cardinals. Louisville never led in the game, as they dropped their second game against a ranked team this season. They will battle an unranked foe next week when they play host to Boston College, while NC State hits the road for a matchup with Pittsburgh.
Patriots Pull Off Close Win Over Bucs
The New England Patriots has had some surprising struggles to begin the 2017 season, but before Thursday night, it was the defense that struggled. On Thursday, it was the struggle to get into the end zone, although, they found a way to pull off a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 19-14, on the road. Tom Brady threw for 303 yards and a touchdown, as the Pats were able to take advantage of three missed field goals by Tampa Bay. Brady's scoring pass was a five-yard play to Chris Hogan in the second quarter, as New England overcame a tough 33-30 loss to the Carolina Panthers at home last Sunday. Brady did have his own struggles on Thursday, getting sacked three times and turning the ball over twice. Brady fumbled once and then threw his first interception in eight regular season-games. Although, the defensive game looked to be improved for the defending Super Bowl champs after giving up 456 yards and 32 points per game in the first four games of the year. They shut down Tampa Bay for most of the night, outside of a Doug Martin touchdown run in the second, and Jameis Winston's 18-yard scoring pass to Cameron Brate in the fourth. Winston finished with 334 yards passing on the night, as Tampa Bay dropped to 2-2 on the year. The Patriots improved to 3-2 and will go on the road for a winnable game against the New York Jets next week. Meanwhile, the Bucs will go to the desert for a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.