© Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

After both starting pitchers went back-and-forth with shutout innings to kick off the ALDS, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve finally broke through with a clutch two-run blast.

Altuve stepped to the plate in the fifth inning with a runner on first and Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow on his last legs. When Glasnow hung a fastball, Altuve sent it towering into the Crawford Boxes for a go-ahead blast.

After battling injuries in the first half of the season, Altuve started crushing baseballs in the second half. He posted a .994 OPS with 21 home runs in 286 at-bats after the All-Star Break.

It appears Altuve brought the hot bat and his powerful swing with him into October. Given the way Justin Verlander is pitching, a two-run lead might be all the Astros need to win Game 1.

Matt Johnson
Writer at Sportsnaut. Journalism student at San Diego State University. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection