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Astros 2, Twins 3: McCullers throws 7 innings (down the drain) as rally comes up short

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Astros offensive problems continue as they waste 7 innings of Lance McCullers right arm.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

You know, when your 1-2 hitters go a combined 0-9, the chances of you winning decrease drastically. But when that happens to the Astros? That is like sending in your pink slip.

In the top of the ninth, Eddie Rosario, laced a ball down the left field line. Recent returnee George Springer got on his horse on got to the ball just in the nick of time but forgot to do the most important thing. Catch the ball. The ball bounced off of Springer's glove and past him, as the 2 eventual game winning runs we're rounding third and stomping on home plate. He managed to get the ball in but it was to late. The damage had been done. The Twins now led 3-1.

The Astros weren't gonna go quietly though. To leadoff the bottom of the ninth, Jed Lowrie, who is batting .529 in his last 5 games, sent a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes to make it a 3-2 game. The Astros didn't stop there. Marwin Gonzalez, Colby Rasmus and George Springer all got on base for the Astros best hitter: Jose Altuve. Jose Altuve, who was 0-4 at this point, hammered a ball to Center Field, and it seems like the Minute Maid Magic was alive once again, but Rookie Byron Buxton had something to say about that. Buxton took a couple of quick steps to his right and snagged it securing the game.

The game was a loss but it was full of silver linings. Rookie Carlos Correa went 3-4 and Lance McCullers looked like the Lance McCullers of old. McCullers went 7 innings - not allowing a hit for the first 5 - allowing 1 run, 3 hits and striking out 2. McCullers put himself and his team in a good position to gain another game on the loser of the Angels-Rangers game but Ervin Santana wasn't gonna let that happen. Santana went 8 innings allowing 6 hits, 1 run and striking out 11. This is the 2nd time Santana has faced the Astros of recent and he wishes he was facing them a lot more. Last outing he went 7 innings not allowing a run.

The Astros certainly had higher aspirations for this home stand but have a chance to break even tomorrow. The Astros will send out highly reliable LHP Dallas Keuchel to face the young, inexperienced righty Tyler Duffey. Duffey has never pitched in Minute Maid - which is a experience all for its self - but has struggled on the road. Duffey averages out to have a 4.56 ERA and a 2-1 record. Keuchel and the Astros will certainly have the upper hand going into tomorrow's game but anything can happen. If the Astros can't take advantage of tomorrow's advantageous scenarios, they could find themselves slipping down the standings come this road trip.