Houston has lost back-to-back games

Astros drop opener to Twins on rough inning by Valdez

Framber Valdez's poor second inning gave the Twins a lead they wouldn't give up on Thursday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After dropping the second of two games in LA for the split with the Dodgers to end their recent road trip, the Astros returned home to welcome in the Twins for a four-game series. The opener would not go their way, as Minnesota would have a big inning, making the difference in the loss for the home team.

Final Score: Twins 5, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 65-44, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (7-3)

Losing Pitcher: Griffin Jax (2-1)

Valdez's poor second inning proves costly

Whether from getting into Houston in the early hours of the morning from Los Angeles or just general sluggishness, the Astros' offense did not look themselves in Thursday's opener. They had only two baserunners in the first five innings, a first-inning single, and a fifth-inning walk.

Jason Castro put Houston on the board with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, but by then, it mattered little, as the Twins had already done their damage against Framber Valdez. It came in the top of the second, a four-run frame for Minnesota on five hits to jump out to the significant early lead. Valdez rebound from that poor inning, getting into the seventh inning without allowing more runs to score. His final line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 107 P.

Astros drop the opener

As far as Houston's bullpen, Yimi Garcia came in to finish the seventh for Valdez, giving up a walk before getting a strikeout to end the inning. After him, the Astros leaned on Cristian Javier, who tossed the eighth and ninth, allowing a run in the eighth to make it 5-1. In the bottom of the ninth, still a four-run deficit, Michael Brantley legged out an infield single to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who promptly delivered a two-run homer to cut the lead to two runs. That's as close as they'd come, though, despite getting the tying run base, as the Twins would hold on to take the opener to hand the Astros back-to-back losses.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Friday. The pitching matchup is expected to be Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.65 ERA) for the Astros and Bailey Ober (1-1, 4.94 ERA) for the Twins.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome