The Astros entered Monday night's game looking for their first consecutive wins of the season. They seemed primed for a victory, with ace Dallas Keuchel on the mound facing a Twins team off to a poor start. Last season at Minute Maid, Keuchel was 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA. Instead of a victory, it was another dispiriting loss for the Houston crew.
The Astros took an early lead on a Preston Tucker solo home run to right. It was Tucker's third of the season, and nice to see after a tough road trip.
Dallas Keuchel allowed base runners in the first two innings, but each time escaped by inducing double play grounders. After a quick 1-2-3 third inning, it looked like he was on his usual roll at home.
George Springer and Carlos Correa both walked to lead off the bottom of the third inning. It looked like the Astros might have rookie starter Jose Berrios rattled. Unfortunately they squandered the chance, as Colby Rasmus went down swinging (he struckout swinging four times in the game) and Evan Gattis grounded into a double play.
The top of the fourth inning started with Brian Dozier hitting a weak grounder to short. Carlos Correa charged the ball and made a strong throw to first. The umpire ruled Dozier out, but the call was reversed after replay. It turned out to be a pivotal play, as Keuchel's control abandoned him at this point.
He walked four batters in the inning, sandwiched around an RBI single by Eduardo Escobar. All in all the Twins plated three runs to take a 3-1 lead. After the Astros didn't score in the bottom of the fourth, Keuchel returned to the mound. He allowed three more hits with the big blow a two RBI triple by Byung Ho Park that chased him from the game.
The Astros got a run back on a solo home run by George Springer in the bottom of the fifth, but the Twins returned the favor on a solo home run by Eduardo Nunez in the top of the sixth.
That ended the scoring, as both bullpens pitched effectively in the later innings. The Twins bullpen limited the Astros to two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Poor starting pitching... struggles with runners in scoring position... basically a repeat of previous Astros losses this season. The Astros need to turn this around... and it feels like it has to happen soon.