The Astros scored just 32 runs in 14 games from July 25 through August 8. They looked, frankly, totally done. The hitters simply forgot how to hit.
How a few days can change things.
The Astros scored another 32 runs, but this time in just the last three games. It was a double-whammy of a double-header for the Twins, who coughed up 25 runs in a single day to Houston. Suddenly the Astros are just two games back of the Wild Card, and a tough-but-not-utterly-hopeless 7.5 games back in the division.
While the scoring was neither as early nor as often in the night cap, it was plenty. Houston plated runs in five of the nine innings, an assault led by Evan Gattis' three-run jack in the second inning. Carlos Correa and George Springer would add solo taters later to help pile on. Springer also had a pair of doubles in a three extra-base hit performance. Marwin Gonzalez followed up his four-hit first game with two more in the second. In all, six players in the starting lineup (Gattis, Springer, Correa, Gonzalez, Tony Kemp, and Tyler White) had two or more hits.
It turned out to be unnecessary though, as Chris Devenski came out of the bullpen for a spot start and was lights out, tossing five shutout frames and leaving the game with a 9-0 lead. He was awarded his first Major League win for his efforts. His ERA post-game is a sparkling 2.35, and he was tied for 8th-most WAR among rookie pitchers in the Majors prior to this game.
Kevin Chapman, up from Triple-A for the second game only under the special rules of double-headers, absorbed 1.1 innings to help out the bullpen, despite giving up the Twins' only runs of the game. The unsung story of the day is that, thanks for everyone doing their jobs well enough. Houston played two games in one day and didn't have to use Will Harris, Michael Feliz, Pat Neshek, or any of the starters out of their regular rotation.
With hope restored and the offense hot, it's on to Toronto for a key series against a team that just recently dominated Houston's hitters.