Houston beats Minnesota in game one

Astros take seesaw opener over Twins with late runs

Yuli Gurriel had one of the big hits in the back-and-forth game with the Twins Friday night. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After taking two of three in Boston, Houston arrived at Target Field in Minneapolis to take on the Twins for the last leg of this road trip. The opener provided plenty of excitement, with the teams going back-and-forth throughout the night before the Astros' offense would finally get the final blow in the ninth inning to grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 6, Twins 4

Astros' Record: 36-27, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Matt Shoemaker (2-8)

Astros and Twins trade blows

The ball was carrying in the air in Friday's opener, and both teams took advantage early. Nelson Cruz started things off in the bottom of the first, hitting a solo shot off of Jose Urquidy to give Minnesota the early 1-0 lead. Miguel Sano doubled that with a solo homer in the next inning, but Houston would get some traffic on the bags to set up a sac fly by Alex Bregman to cut it in half at 2-1.

The teams traded homers in the subsequent few frames, with Josh Donaldson launching one in the bottom of the third, Jose Altuve getting one in the top of the fifth, and Yuli Gurriel putting one over the fence to lead off the top of the sixth, all solo homers. That tied the game at 3-3, which held until the top of the seventh when Houston would get runners in scoring position to set up an RBI groundout by Alex Bregman, giving the Astros their first lead of the night.

Urquidy turns things around for a quality start

That also put Jose Urquidy in a winning position for the first time. After allowing a solo home run in each of the first three innings, he turned things around with four scoreless after that, allowing just one hit over that span and keeping the work needed from Houston's sporadic bullpen limited. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8K, 103 P.

Houston wins the battle

Unfortunately for Urquidy, his bullpen would not finish things scoreless to keep him in line for the win as Ryne Stanek entered in the bottom of the eighth and gave up the fourth solo homer of the night and second to Josh Donaldson to tie the game 4-4. Houston broke the tie in their favor again in the top of the ninth, with Myles Straw reaching base with a leadoff single, moving to second on a passed ball, then scoring the go-ahead run on an RBI double by Martin Maldonado.

Maldonado came in to make it 6-4 after moving to third on a lineout, then scoring on an RBI single by Michael Brantley. That presented a save opportunity for Ryan Pressly, who entered in the bottom of the ninth to try and put away his former team. He converted the save, tossing a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the two-run win for the Astros, giving them a chance to secure another series with a win on Saturday in game two of three.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will get started at 6:15 PM Central on Saturday. Luis Garcia (5-3, 2.75 ERA) will try to keep his dominant stretch alive for the Astros, having notched five wins in five starts, going opposite Jose Berrios (6-2, 3.58 ERA) for the Twins.

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Houston could be down another offensive lineman vs. Steelers. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Texans are preparing to host TJ Watt and the Steelers at NRG this weekend, and it looks like the offensive line could be down another key piece.

Laremy Tunsil missed the last two games with a knee injury, and he wasn't practicing on Wednesday. Aaron Wilson is reporting that pain and swelling in the knee could lead to missing more time.

Which is bad news for the Texans, as tackle Josh Jones (hand) was not practicing on Wednesday, and he's been filing in during Tunsil's absence.

The Texans recently signed lineman Geron Christian to their practice squad to add more depth. Christian was a third-round pick by Washington in 2018 and last received regular playing time with the Texans in 2021.

If Jones can't go, the Texans will have to shuffle the o-line again and may start George Fant at left tackle, as Wilson suggested above. Austin Deculus could also be an option at left tackle.

This is a bad week to be down another tackle, with TJ Watt looking to make a statement on the same day his brother JJ will be inducted into the Texans Ring of Honor.

On the bright side, it appears Tytus Howard should be ready to play when he returns in Week 5 from the IR, but that won't help the Texans this week.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Texans could have both their starting safeties ready to play together for the first time this season, with Jalen Pitre back at practice after suffering a bruised lung against the Ravens.

The Texans are currently 3-point underdogs against Pittsburgh, and after last week's performance, this looks like a winnable game. But if the Texans can't protect Stroud or open any holes in the running game, it could be a long day for Houston's offense.

Editor's note: Josh Jones is not expected to play this Sunday:

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