Easy as 1-2-3 for the Astros in topping the Red Sox

Jose Altuve and George Springer had plenty to celebrate in this series. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

The Houston Astros - Boston Red Sox series was won by the performance of each team’s 1-2-3 hitters.

The top of the Astros lineup hit .440/.509/.800 in the series. The first three hitters in the Red Sox lineup hit .180/.226/.320.

It was very much a case of anything you can do, we can do too for the Astros. Jose Altuve hit three home runs in Game 1, but his teammate, George Springer went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Over the next three games of the series, Altuve kept hitting and Springer went 7-for-13 with four runs scored and two RBIs. And though he wasn’t part of the 1-2-3 combo, Carlos Correa settled into the cleanup spot nicely after his 0-for-4 in Game 1. He had six RBIs in the next three games.

Then there were some of the forgotten hitters in the Astros lineup. Josh Reddick and Alex Bregman were a combined 7-for-18 within those first three slots. That included Bregman’s tone-setting home run against Chris Sale in Game 1 (he'd hit the tying homer in Game 4 too), as well as Reddick’s two hits and an RBI in Game 4.

The Red Sox 1-2-3 struggled to lift the ball against Astros pitching. They managed only four line drives in the four games. The Astros defense was also well positioned, turning 19 of 24 ground balls into outs (79 percent).

Key to the series for Houston’s pitching, was shutting down Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. They were a combined 3-for-33, 3-for-30 out of the top three spots. Bogaerts fnished 1-for-17.