The second round of the 2020 MLB playoffs is underway with the two American League Division Series beginning play Monday afternoon at neutral sites.

The Houston Astros pounced on the Oakland Athletics in a scorching afternoon matchup at Dodger Stadium before a Gerrit ColeBlake Snell duel started an AL East showdown between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. Here are the heroes, turning points and takeaways from each of Thursday’s games.

Key links: Ranking the remaining 8 | Guide to bubble ballparks | Schedule, bracket

Houston Astros 10, Oakland A’s 5

What it means: “What are they gonna say now?” That’s what Carlos Correa asked five days ago, after his Astros — mired by their own cheating scandal, hated everywhere outside of their home city — beat the Minnesota Twins for the second consecutive time to advance into the second round. Yeah, it was tone deaf. But baseball needs villains sometimes. Correa is seemingly embracing that role — and he’s thriving under it.

Correa homered twice in the Astros’ Game 1 win over an A’s team that beat them 70% of the time during the regular season, backing a four-hit game from George Springer and an impressive performance from the team’s collection of young pitchers. Both of Correa’s home runs went out to straight-away center field, totaling 829 feet, on a warm day when the ball was jumping off the bat.

Astros manager Dusty Baker noted over the weekend that his team was “not playing our best ball” heading into this ALDS. He was still waiting for his accomplished hitters to get going. In Game 1, Correa, Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman — the four most reviled baseball players in America — combined for 11 hits and drove in eight runs. That might spell trouble for the rest of the field. — Alden Gonzalez

Next up: Game 2, Tuesday at 4:37 p.m. ET on TBS

More Monday games:

Yankees at Rays, 8:10 p.m. ET on TBS





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