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Astros Take a Pair from the Twins, Return to the Division Lead

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The Astros closed out the series with a rather efficient beatdown

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros didn’t continue their streak of games with 11+ hits, but that was about the only way that tonight’s game could be considered anything other than a rousing success, with 7 runs on 10 hits backing a strong, 1-run, 8-inning pitching performance from Justin Verlander. And with that, the Astros officially sealed up a series win against the Twins and moved back into first place in the AL West.

After a scoreless first for both teams, Carlos Correa got the scoring started on the first pitch of the second inning with an opposite-field shot. It looked like the third inning would go back to being scoreless following a double play to erase a lead-off single, but a quick Alex Bregman double and Michael Brantley homer turned that around.

And Brantley, with his current ten-game hitting streak, wasn’t the only person who both kept a streak alive and homered tonight: Josh Reddick added his own two-run shot in the eighth, which (combined with his earlier single) kept his seven-game hot streak going. Reddick had also walked back in the fourth before scoring on a Robinson Chirinos double. Chirinos would also score on a pair of wild pitches, which you don’t see every day.

So all in all, it was yet another pretty dominant offensive performance for the ‘Stros. Sure, it didn’t continue that aforementioned five-game streak of eleven-plus hits that the broadcast mentioned, but since that’s an entirely arbitrary cut-off point, I prefer to think of it as “continuing their six-game streak of ten-plus hits”. The glass is half-full and all that.

On the pitching side, Verlander was both dominant and efficient, throwing eight innings on just 98 pitches. The only major blemish was a Jorge Polanco dinger in the fourth; outside of that, Verlander only allowed two singles and no walks while striking out eight. Also interestingly, between strikeouts and flyouts, it took until the first batter of the sixth inning for an Astro to record an assist, when Verlander got Max Kepler to ground one back to them. Marwin’s groundout to Aledmys Diaz to end the seventh was the first non-pitcher assist, Jason Castro’s 3-6 put-out in the eighth was the first groundout that didn’t involve Verlander.

Framber Valdez had a two-K, one-hit ninth to end things quietly. Overall, it was a quick and easy cap to a 2-1 series win over the Twins, with the game time coming in just under two and a half hours. This moves the Astros to 15-9 on the year, and with the Mariners’ loss, returns them to a half-game lead in the AL West. Tomorrow marks the start of a new series, with the Indians coming to town for an ALDS rematch and former UCLA rotation mates Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer facing off.