Two franchises with long postseason droughts took the next steps toward reversing that history on Saturday.
The Astros, who have never captured a World Series crown, rode a brilliant start by Justin Verlander and clutch performances from their All-World middle infield to a 2-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS presented by Camping World, giving them a 2-0 lead in the series, which now shifts to New York.
The Dodgers, who have waited for a title of their own since 1988, got off on the right foot with a 5-2 win over the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLCS, their first victory in an NLCS since Game 1 against the Cardinals in 1985.
Both games featured some top performances, boosted by timely hitting from some of the game's brightest stars. Here are some notable facts and figures from Saturday's postseason action:
Verlander racks up K's, finishes the job
• Verlander became the fifth pitcher in postseason history -- and second for the Astros -- to throw a nine-inning complete game with at least 13 strikeouts and one walk or fewer in the postseason. The Giants' Timothy Lincecum was the most recent, in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Braves. Before him was Houston's Mike Scott in Game 1 of the 1986 NL Championship Series against the Mets.
• Verlander became the first starting pitcher this postseason to complete more than seven innings. He's the first to finish nine innings in any LCS game since the White Sox got consecutive complete games from Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras to finish off the Angels in Games 2-5 of the 2005 ALCS.
• Verlander's 124 pitches are the most in a postseason game since teammate Dallas Keuchel threw 124 in Game 3 of the 2015 ALDS for Houston against the Royals. A staggering 93 of Verlander's pitches went for strikes, which is the highest total of strikes thrown in a postseason game since Verlander in Game 5 of the 2011 ALCS for the Tigers against the Rangers.
• After Keuchel twirled a 10-strikeout gem in Game 1, Verlander followed with a postseason career-high 13 K's. That made Keuchel and Verlander the first pair of teammates to each record a 10-strikeout start in the same postseason series against the Yankees. Keuchel and Verlander's 23 combined strikeouts also set a record for the most in back-to-back starts in a series against the Yanks, surpassing the 22 recorded by Carl Erskine (14) and Billy Loes (8) for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Games 3-4 of the 1953 World Series.
• No pair of Astros starters had recorded at least 10 strikeouts in back-to-back games, and the last time two starters went back-to-back with 10-strikeout performances in the postseason was Verlander and Max Scherzer in Games 2-3 of the 2013 ALCS for the Tigers.
• This was the seventh postseason start with at least 10 K's for Verlander, who had six such outings for the Tigers between 2011-13. That extended his all-time record. Bob Gibson, Randy Johnson and Cliff Lee all had five 10-strikeout postseason games.
Verlander now also holds the record for most 11-strikeout games in the postseason with five, surpassing Johnson's four.
• Verlander's 13 strikeouts were the second most by an Astros pitcher in a playoff game, behind Scott's 14 in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS. Only the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax (15 in 1963 World Series Game 1) and Erskine (14 in 1953 World Series Game 3) struck out more Yankees in a postseason contest.
The last AL starter to strike out 13 in a postseason game was Scherzer in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS for the Tigers against the Red Sox.
• Verlander's 13 K's give him 128 in his postseason career. That lifted him above Carsten Sabathia -- who will start Game 3 against the Astros for the Yankees -- Curt Schilling, Jonathan Lester, and Greg Maddux and into seventh on the all-time list. Johnson (132) sits in sixth, with John Smoltz's 199 K's the all-time leader.
Correa continues to crush it
• Carlos Correa's walk-off double was the sixth postseason walk-off hit in Astros history. The last time Houston had a postseason walk-off was in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS against the Braves, when Chris Burke clubbed an 18th-inning home run.
• The last postseason walk-off hit by a shortstop was Jimmy Rollins' two-run double for the Phillies in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS against the Dodgers.
• Altuve turned on the jets on Correa's double to score from first base, racing from first to home plate in 10.27 seconds, per Statcast™, for the winning run. That was the fastest first-to-home time Altuve recorded since September 2015.
• Correa gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a home run into the first row of seats beyond the right-field wall. His third homer this postseason and fifth career postseason homer came off a 99.3-mph fastball from Yanks starter Luis Severino, the fastest pitch taken deep in a playoff game since Texas' Nelson Cruz launched a 100.6-mph fastball in Game 5 of the 2011 ALCS against the Tigers. Coincidentally, that homer came off Verlander.
• Correa, who turned 23 on Sept. 22, became the fifth player to hit as many as five postseason homers before turning 24. Evan Longoria (six), Kyle Schwarber, Andruw Jones and Mickey Mantle are the others.
• Shortstops now have combined for 10 homers this postseason, as Correa and the Yankees' Didi Gregorius lead the way with three each. That's the most for any position, just ahead of first basemen (nine). Left fielders and right fielders have combined for just eight.
Ten home runs by shortstop ties the record for a single postseason set in 2002, when the Giants' Rich Aurilia did much of the damage by hitting six.
Another great day for Jose
• Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 in Game 2, and his batting average this postseason actually dropped -- to .565 (13-for-23). He still became the 11th player to post five multi-hit games in his club's first six contests in a postseason. Cruz last did it for the 2014 Orioles, but before that, it hadn't happened since Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. accomplished the feat for Baltimore in 1996.
• Altuve's 13 hits through his team's first six postseason games tie for second all-time with the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (2001), the Yanks' Derek Jeter (1996) and the Braves' Marquis Grissom ('95). Will Clark set the record of 15 in 1989 for the Giants.
Yankees fall into another 0-2 hole
• After sitting in Game 1, Chase Headley returned to the Yankees' lineup and went 0-for-3 from the designated hitter spot. The Yanks' DHs are now 0-for-26 this postseason, the longest such hitless streak by DHs of any team to start a postseason. The previous record was 0-for-16 by the Red Sox in 2003.
• The Yankees are the first team to strike out 10 or more times in at least seven of their first eight postseason games.
• Severino couldn't to strike out a single batter in his four innings on Saturday, despite an average velocity of 97.8 mph on his four-seam fastball. Outside the AL Wild Card Game, in which he lasted one-third of an inning, it's the first time the right-hander didn't strike anyone out in any outing this season.
Severino is only the fifth starter to not strike out a hitter in two starts over the same postseason, and the first since Ed Figueroa in 1978.
• Since 2012, each of the three hardest pitches taken deep in the postseason -- all 99-plus mph -- have come against Severino this October.
The Dodgers pull ahead
• Yasiel Puig has now driven home multiple runs in three postseason games this month, joining Dusty Baker (1977) as the only Dodgers with multi-RBI games in three of Los Angeles' first four postseason games in a given season.
• NLCS Game 2: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 CT/4:30 PT on TBS
• Puig's RBI double in the fifth inning marked the first earned run Cubs starter Jose Quintana had ever surrendered to the Dodgers. He entered the game having only allowed five unearned runs in 14 career innings vs. Los Angeles. This was Quintana's third time facing the Dodgers and his first since 2014.
• Saturday marked the Cubs' first loss with Quintana on the mound since Aug. 25 in Philadelphia. Chicago had won each of Quintana's last seven starts, including Game 3 of the NLDS vs. Washington. He was 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in that span.
• After his fifth-inning double, Puig homered in the seventh. His two extra-base hits gave him four in 14 at-bats this postseason, which is an extra-base hit every 3 1/2 at-bats. That's the second-best extra-base hit rate in club postseason history, behind teammate Justin Turner's extra-base hit every 3.2 at-bats in the 2015 postseason (six extra-base hits in 19 at-bats).
• After Clayton Kershaw exited with two runs allowed in five innings, the bullpen carried Los Angeles to the finish line with four perfect innings, punctuated by a four-out save by closer Kenley Jansen. That was Jansen's 11th career postseason save of at least four outs, tying Rob Nen and Jason Isringhausen for the fourth-most postseason saves of that length all-time. Mariano Rivera's 42 multi-inning saves in October are far and away the most by any reliever all time.
• Jansen struck out each of the four Cubs hitters he faced, marking the first four-out save in postseason history in which a reliever struck out every batter he faced.
Kershaw grits out five innings
• The two-run home run by Albert Almora Jr. in the fourth inning was the 15th homer Kershaw has given up in his postseason career (100 1/3 innings). Twelve of those have come in 62 postseason innings dating back to 2014, which works out to 1.7 home runs per nine innings. That is the highest postseason HR/9 IP ratio of any pitcher since 2014. The Indians' Corey Kluber is second, at 1.55 (seven home runs in 40 2/3 postseason innings).
• Kershaw also became the first Dodgers pitcher to ever give up five home runs in a single postseason. The Almora homer broke Kershaw's tie with Joe Black (1952), Don Newcomb (1956), Don Drysdale (1965), Don Sutton (1977) and Odalis Perez (2004), who each gave up four homers in a single postseason.
• Saturday marked Kershaw's ninth appearance and sixth start in an NLCS game. He's earned just one win -- against the Cubs in Game 2 last year in the NLCS -- and posted a 5.30 ERA across those outings.