The Astros had a goal entering Sunday: They needed a win to split the four-game series against the Twins.
That didn’t happen, though. With an inconsistent strike zone of home plate umpire Vic Carapazza and shaky performances by Lance McCullers Jr. and Phil Maton, the Astros lost 7-5 in the final contest against Minnesota in 2021.
Houston scored first thanks to a single by Aledmys Díaz, who’s been red hot since coming back from the injured list. But right after that, the rival offense came alive as Trevor Larnach singled home the tying run in the second inning. In the fourth, after three good innings by McCullers Jr., Miguel Sanó hit the first bomb of the afternoon for Minnesota to make it 3-1.
Even though McCullers Jr. —who lost his third game of the campaign (9-3)— lasted only 4 2/3 episodes on the mound, both teams kept a hard battle until the sixth frame. With the Twins up 4-3, Jorge Polanco launched his second homer of the night, a three-run shot off Maton to leave things 7-3.
Both McCullers Jr. and Maton accounted for the Twins’ three home runs and seven runs. Blake Taylor, Rafael Montero, and Yimi García did a good job by holding opponent hitters for three scoreless innings to end the game.
The Astros tried to come closer, but it wasn’t enough for them. The highlight of the second part of the game was a Carlos Correa solo shot for his second four-bagger of August.
The bad news for the Astros is related to injuries. In the third inning, Michael Brantley was removed from the game after being struck in the head. However, according to the Astros, it was all due to precautionary reasons.
Dusty Baker says Michael Brantley is being observed after being hit in the head during that collision at second. Says Rafael Montero left the game with shoulder soreness and is being checked by the doctors.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 8, 2021
Also, Montero threw 1 2/3 scoreless before leaving the game for an apparent injury. Outfielder Jake Meyers —called up after Myles Straw trade— replaced Brantley in the game and got his first career game, a double off Tyler Duffey.
The Astros will have Monday off before hosting the Colorado Rockies for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Against the Rox, they’ll try to overcome a rough stretch of six losses in their last eight games.
Lance McCullers Jr: "Losing three out of four, not really acceptable, but you roll with it. It’s a long season. We have played well against good teams. We just have to find a way to get some wins."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) August 8, 2021