Astros victorious vs. Orioles to open home slate of World Series title defense

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Astros victorious vs. Orioles to open home slate of World Series title defense (KTRK)

The last time the Houston Astros were on the field at Minute Maid Park for a game that counted, it was on an October night that proved to encapsulate the historic nature of the team's big 2017 run.

In 10 exciting innings, the Astros got a key victory in the World Series thanks to a clutch line drive hit by Alex Bregman. The walk-off hit sent pinch runner Derek Fisher from 2nd to home and it broke up a tie with the Dodgers for good.

On Monday night, when the Astros got an emotional return from former coach Rich Dauer and a meme-worthy mishap involving their World Series banner reveal, the team didn't need extra-inning heroics to open the home slate of their championship defense.

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Behind six strikeouts from Charlie Morton, the 'Stros got a wire-to-wire 6-1 victory against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

Morton was stellar in six scoreless innings of work. It was Morton's first action since fanning the final 12 outs of the World Series-clinching Game 7 last November in Los Angeles.

The "quiet storm" got run support from the first inning on. George Springer scored on an RBI double by Alex Bregman to open the runs for the Astros. Springer went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Bregman, who went 1-for-3, was phenomenal from third base, sometimes bare-handing ground balls on his side of the field.

In somewhat of an alarming development early in the game, Carlos Correa left the game in the third inning due to toe discomfort. On Sunday, Correa fouled a ball off his toe vs. the Rangers. He may be able to play on Tuesday, though.

Correa's absence caused manager A.J. Hinch to move Marwin Gonzalez, who was covering first base for an injured Yuli Gurriel, to shortstop. J.D. Davis took up first base duties.

As soon as the personnel move took place, though, Gonzalez came up big, hitting a solo home run to right, propelling the Astros in the fourth inning.

Fisher, who started in left field, also came up big for Houston, hitting a pair of triples for the game and driving in two runs.

Houston is the first American League team to four wins early in the season. Game two of the series with Baltimore is set for 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Houston sends opening day starter Justin Verlander to the mound on championship ring night.
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