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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The Houston Rockets recorded their first win without the star power of James Harden versus the San Antonio Spurs. After a chaotic Harden press conference, the Rockets held various team meetings, so the focus was not forgotten. Thursday night, Christian Wood led the way with 27 points and 15 rebounds, and got some help along the way from Sterling Brown and Jae' Sean Tate. It was a back-and-forth effort, but the Rockets prevailed with a 109-105 win over the Spurs.

With John Wall and Eric Gordon both out, Wood needed to carry the load but still needed help from his teammates. Tate brought a complete effort while being versatile, dynamic, and ran the point guard position with extreme efficiency. Brown had complete confidence by lighting the Spurs up for 23 points on 53 percent shooting from the field. It was incredible to watch undrafted Mason Jones and second-round draft pick Kenyon Martin take leaps in front of our eyes.

For those that don't know, the Rockets were shorthanded because they are still waiting on the arrival of Victor Oladipo.

Watching Wood become better at drop coverage was pivotal in the Rockets' success on defense. Wood also became a great help-side defender by covering ground for his teammates. His shot blocking was extremely lethal against the Spurs. Wood finished with three blocks on Thursday night. His offensive game frightened the Spurs defenders as Wood was able to attack from the perimeter and paint area. Wood shot 71 percent at the 3-point line and 55 percent from the field. Like Wood said during his press conference on Wednesday, he didn't come to Houston to lose.

Stephan Silas had to coach a shorthanded roster Thursday night, so Tate was used at the point guard position. Tate collected 10 points and 13 assists by being aggressive and smart. He operated the pick-n-roll with Wood precisely and found him continuously on lobs. Tate also finished nicely around the rim, including being strong over defenders. Hopefully, Tate's development gets better over time.

The signing of Sterling Brown was a head scratcher in the beginning of the season but has been successful so far. Right now, Brown is averaging a career high of 8.5 points per game with the Rockets. Brown was not scared to take the big shots versus the Spurs Thursday night. He even made acrobatic tough layups in crunch time. Brown also made an incredible shot toward the end of the 4th quarter for the Rockets. Hopefully, the play of Brown continues to get better throughout the season.

This was a great win for the shorthanded Rockets. Not bad for a team with no chemistry or talent.

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