Houston lost three of four

Astros drop finale to Twins as Minnesota takes the series

Houston's offense once again came up short of the Twins on Sunday, dropping three of four in the series. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After rebounding out of their three-game losing streak with a win on Saturday, the Astros tried to work a series split with another victory on Sunday. Instead, the Twins would once again hand them disappointment, handing Houston another loss.

Final Score: Twins 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 66-46, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Kenta Maeda (5-4)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-3)

Houston strikes first before Twins get to McCullers Jr.

After a scoreless top half of the inning by Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros plated a run in the bottom of the first. They put the first two runners on base on a single and a walk, setting up an RBI single by Aledmyz Diaz to take a 1-0 lead. The twins responded quickly, getting that run back to tie the game in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single. McCullers Jr. rebounded with a scoreless third, but in the fourth, issued a leadoff walk which proved costly with a two-run homer in the next at-bat to put Minnesota ahead 3-1.

Despite allowing two singles, he finished that inning and received a run from his offense on an RBI single by Taylor Jones in the bottom half but was met with a leadoff solo homer in the top of the fifth to give it right back. He would get two outs while loading the bases on a single, walk, and hit by pitch, leaving with two outs as Dusty Baker would bring in Phil Maton to finish the inning. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 89 P.

Twins expand their lead

Houston crept back into it in the bottom of the fifth, getting a runner on third to set up an RBI single by Yordan Alvarez to make it a one-run game at 4-3. Minnesota quickly took back the momentum, putting up a single and a walk against Maton before a three-run homer put them firmly back in front 7-3. Maton would face just one more batter before Blake Taylor would enter to try and finish the frame, which he would do by stranding the bases loaded after allowing two singles and a walk but escaping damage.

Rafael Montero took over in the top of the seventh, tossing the first 1-2-3 inning of the day for Houston. The Astros tried starting a rally in the bottom of the seventh, getting Jake Meyer's first MLB hit on a two-out double, followed by an RBI double by Aledmys Diaz to cut the lead to 7-4. Montero remained in the game in the top of the eighth, getting two outs and allowing a walk before experiencing an injury that would take him out of the game. Yimi Garcia made the quick entry and finished off the frame.

Astros lose the series

Carlos Correa got his team another run closer, leading the bottom of the eighth off with a solo homer to make it 7-5. With two outs, Dusty Baker went to his bench, using Jose Altuve to pinch-hit who, to that point, had the day off. Altuve worked a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, another pinch hitter, Jason Castro, who struck out to end the inning. After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth by Garcia, the Astros would come up empty in the bottom of the inning, dropping three of four to the Twins to lose the series.

Up Next: Houston will enjoy a day off on Monday before the Rockies come to Houston for a two-game series starting Wednesday at 7:10 PM Central. In the opener, the expected pitching matchup is Jon Gray (7-7, 3.67 ERA) for Colorado and Jake Odorizzi (4-6, 4.95 ERA) for the Astros.

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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.

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