Astros, Red Sox enjoy MLB playoff wins

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The Houston Astros will take a commanding American League Division Series lead to Chicago after beating the White Sox 9-4 in game two.

Liam Hendriks, the only Australian playing in Major League Baseball's postseason, pitched one innings for two strike outs for Chicago on Friday.

The White Sox however have a mountain to climb as only 10 teams have come back from a 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-five series, most recently the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians in 2017.

The visitors scored three runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead but the Astros wasted no time in beginning their comeback against a side who went 85-10 in regular season games in which they held a two-run lead.

Yordan Alvarez delivered the go-ahead RBI single and Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer to cap a five-run seventh inning.

Houston starter Framber Valdez allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk while Chicago starter Lucas Giolito also gave up four runs on three hits and five walks.

"The score to me is very misleading," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.

"We got hurt with some walks ... That's one of the things they do really well - they have good strike zone understanding, so they'll take a walk."

In St Petersburg, the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 14-6 to level their series at 1-1 on the back of J.D. Martinez hitting a tiebreaking three-run homer and Tanner Houck's clutch relief effort with a franchise postseason record five home runs.

Kike Hernandez had five of the visitors' 20 hits, including a homer and three doubles, becoming Boston's first player with four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers also connected for the Red Sox, who rallied for a blowout win after ace Chris Sale allowed a first-inning grand slam to Jordan Luplow.

"We've been behind (three runs) plenty of times," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

"Offensively, I think we're getting to who we are and it was just a 3-0 game in the second inning, that's the way we saw it."

The Milwaukee Brewers got the National League Division Series (NLDS) underway with a 2-1 win at home to the Atlanta Braves.

Rowdy Tellez snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the seventh inning while Braves pinch hitter Joc Pederson halved the deficit in the eighth.

Milwaukee, who won the NL Central despite losing 10 of their final 14, were just 16-49 when scoring three runs or fewer.

In San Francisco, the Giants enjoyed a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in their NLDS opener.

Buster Posey hit a two-run home run while Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford added solo shots for the Giants, whose 107-win regular season earned them the home-field advantage in the best-of-five series against the 106-win Dodgers.

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