Altuve’s blast not enough for Astros

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HOUSTON — After a soft comebacker ricocheted off the glove of Astros reliever Tony Sipp, Eddie Rosario stretched what would have been a routine double play into a double and secured the Twins’ 4-2 win on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

Much earlier in the evening, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier clubbed his second leadoff home run in as many days, helping the Twins end their three-game losing streak while at the same time earning their first win against the 61-win Astros this season. Prior to Saturday, Minnesota had lost seven in a row to the Astros, dating back to Aug. 9, 2016.

However, the Astros have outscored the Twins, 52-25, in five games this season, including runs scored on second baseman Jose Altuve‘s solo home run in the third inning and Yuli Gurriel‘s RBI double in the second. The Astros held a 2-1 lead until the Twins tied it in the fifth and scored that pair off the miscue in the sixth.

Houston, though, had chances. The Astros finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base for the second consecutive game. Houston left the bases loaded in three innings in the loss.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ricochet renders two runs: In the sixth, for the second inning in a row, Astros starter Joe Musgrove loaded the bases with two singles and a walk with no outs, and he was replaced by Sipp. On Sipp’s third pitch, Rosario bounced a two-run double — which had a 19 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™ — off Sipp’s glove; the ricocheting ball scooted past Altuve at second and rolled into right field to put the Twins ahead, 4-2. Sipp would strike out Jorge Polanco and Jason Castro before Houston intentionally walked Dozier to load the bases once again. Six pitches later, Sipp ended the inning with Zack Granite‘s groundout to second base.

Santana finds, escapes trouble: Twins starter Ervin Santana did what many pitchers fear 90 games into this season: load the bases for power hitter George Springer (26 HRs in 2017). On the first pitch of the at-bat, Springer swung for a grand slam, but whacked Santana’s 87.5-mph pitch at a 59-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™, and popped out to short right field to end the second-inning threat.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Twins on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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