Astros dominate the Twins in lopsided win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 11-0 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After being shutout in the loss the night before, the Astros looked to turn things around on offense on Tuesday night in the dreary weather in Minneapolis for game two of four with the Twins. Here's a quick stat breakdown and three hits from the game:

Final Score: Astros 11, Twins 0

Record: 18-12, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (2-4, 3.95 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Michael Pineda (2-2, 6.21 ERA).

1) No stopping this train

Although it looked like he might be in for a rough night after walking the first two batters to start his night, Gerrit Cole turned that around quick to post his best start of the season and most dominant since his complete-game shutout with sixteen strikeouts in Arizona almost exactly one year ago.

Cole did not allow a hit until the sixth inning, and that one hit to go with three walks would be his only flaws in a seven-inning scoreless start with eleven strikeouts. The eleven Ks moved him to 65 for the year, a new record for American League starters before May and keeping him well out in front in the strikeout column in the AL.

2) Offense heats up in the cold weather 

There was no shutting out Houston's offense on Tuesday night, as they jumped ahead early on an RBI-double by George Springer in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead. Springer doubled the lead to 2-0 with a line-drive solo dinger to lead off the fifth, then later in the same inning Carlos Correa notched an RBI with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

They'd strike again in the top of the sixth, putting together a big four-run inning after a two-run homer by Jake Marisnick, a solo homer from Alex Bregman, and an RBI-single from Correa. Correa would get his third RBI of the night in the eighth, drawing a bases-loaded walk before Houston would add three more insurance runs on RBIs from Aledmys Diaz and Josh Reddick then scoring on an error to extend the lead to 11-0.

3) Bullpen finishes the shutout

With Cole's dominant night done after seven innings, Josh James came in for the eighth and was able to find his way out of a two-out bases loaded jam. Chris Devenski took over in the ninth and closed out the game to get Houston back in the win column.

Up Next: Houston and Minnesota will get started a little later tomorrow than the first two games, starting game three of four at 7:10 PM. Collin McHugh (3-2, 4.78 ERA) will start for the Astros opposite of Martin Perez (3-0, 4.44 ERA) for the Twins.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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