On Friday night, the Astros showed why they’re a great team, beating the Twins 6-4 and kicking off the series at Target Field with a win. Despite being down 2-0 after the second inning, they came back to take a W off Minnesota’s hands.
Starter José Urquidy’s night didn’t begin as planned. In the first two episodes, he allowed solo shots to Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sanó, who took advantage of two fastballs right in the pain zone.
The Astros cut distances in the top third thanks to a sacrifice fly from Alex Bregman, but right after that, Josh Donaldson hit the third homer of the night off Urquidy.
That Donaldson home run marked a before-and-after for Urquidy on the mound. In the next 4 1⁄3 innings, he only allowed one hit (double). The young right-hander completed another strong performance of seven episodes, four hits, three earned runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts. In the sixth, he got a little help from Myles Straw in center field with this gem...
It's Myles Straw SZN pic.twitter.com/demgpZ2lRC— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) June 12, 2021
With a solid Urquidy on the hill, the Astros’ offense had some work to do. And it delivered.
José Altuve hit his 12th four-bagger of the season (four in his last five games), Yuli Gurriel smacked his 10th of the campaign (and second in two days), and Bregman put the Astros ahead on the score with an RBI groundout in the top seventh.
This is the weirdest home run you'll see today. #VoteAltuve https://t.co/Ft11KpGnKT pic.twitter.com/hEyOqzmVjk— Houston Astros (@astros) June 12, 2021
La Piña went up and got it. #VoteGurriel https://t.co/qiAMVg3TLX pic.twitter.com/kHsvBvCi6a— Houston Astros (@astros) June 12, 2021
After Urquidy was pulled out of the game, Ryne Stanek came in, and Donaldson welcomed him with a solo jack for his second home run of the night. And just like that, the game was tied 4-4. This was the first win for the Astros despite allowing four-plus homers since September 5, 2019.
But the offense had something else in the bag. Straw opened the ninth with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Right after, Martín Maldonado got an RBI double, and Michael Brantley recorded his fourth hit of the contest to drive in the Astros’ sixth and final run.
Machete in the clutch. #VoteMaldonado https://t.co/GskPoByIfr pic.twitter.com/GM9ThmDVfm— Houston Astros (@astros) June 12, 2021
For Brantley, it was the 10th contest in a row with at least a hit. Gurriel is also in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak.
The Astros served things up for Ryan Pressly to close the game. He didn’t have any problem doing so, as he struck out two hitters over one inning of work to seal his 10th save of the regular season.
On Saturday, in the second game of the series (7:10 pm ET), Luis García will try to keep his momentum going. The 24-year-old righty has five consecutive wins and carries a 1.86 ERA in his last 29 innings (five starts). García will face José Berríos.