HADER IMPLODES AGAIN

Vázquez homers off Hader to give Twins walk-off win over Astros

Astros Josh Hader
Josh Hader had another rough outing. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Christian Vázquez led off the ninth inning with a home run to give the Minnesota Twins a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Vázquez, who had two hits and drove in all three Twins runs, hit a full-count sinker from Josh Hader (3-5) high and deep to left field for his fourth homer of the season.

“I think it’s fun to hit in the ninth against the closer,” Vázquez said. "I get locked in there.”

Jhoan Duran (4-3) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the win.

The Astros wrapped up a 10-game road trip 6-4, while the Twins have taken two of three games in each of their last five series. The team's offense has especially come alive of late, banging out 42 hits in the three games against Houston.

“I think our offense is very dangerous,” Vázquez said. “One through nine, everyone puts something on the table to win. So, we never give up, and that’s the beauty of this game,”

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti gave up two earned runs and struck out six in five innings.

Minnesota's Simeon Woods Richardson had one of his best starts of the season. The rookie right-hander gave up two earned runs over six innings and retired the last 13 batters he faced.

“When you see a guy figure it out while he’s out there and make it work, and have his best stuff toward the end of the outing, it leaves you even more satisfied,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He gave us a chance to win and we end up winning the game.

Twins shortstop Carlos Correa left the game in the first inning after being hit on the right hand by a pitch. The team announced that initial scans were negative and Correa was diagnosed with a finger contusion.

“I will be playing tomorrow,” said Correa, who had his finger wrapped after the game.

Woods Richardson’s control escaped him in the second inning and the Astros made him pay. Back-to-back walks helped load the bases with one out. César Salazar’s sacrifice fly drove in one run and Jose Altuve’s base hit plated another as Houston took a 2-0 lead.

Vázquez drove in runs with a two-out single in the second and a fielder’s choice grounder in the fourth to tie the game 2-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Altuve returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a wrist contusion. … OF Yordan Alvarez missed the game with a sore right knee after he was hit by a pitch on Saturday.

Twins: OF Austin Martin (oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day IL. OF Matt Wallner was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to fill Martin’s roster spot.

UP NEXT

Astros: With their longest road trip of the season in the books, the Astros return to Houston until the All-Star break. RHP Ronel Blanco (8-3, 2.53) will start Tuesday’s game against the Marlins.

Twins: Minnesota heads to Chicago Monday to open a three-game series with the White Sox. The Twins haven’t named a starter for Monday night’s game, though RHP Chris Paddack (5-3, 5.29) is eligible to come off the IL and the date lines up with his slot in the rotation.

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Astros beat the Mariners 4-2. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a go-ahead two-run homer off former Houston reliever Ryne Stanek in the seventh inning, and the Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Saturday night to take sole possession of the AL West lead for the first time this year.

Stuck playing catchup through the first 3½ months of the season, Houston has won six of eight to climb into first place all alone.

Seattle lost its fifth straight and fell out of first place for the first time since May 11.

Meyers drove a 1-2 pitch from Stanek (6-3) to right-center field for his 11th homer. Stanek opened the inning by walking Jeremy Peña, and the homer by Meyers cost George Kirby the chance at a victory after he allowed one run in six innings.

Yainer Diaz added a solo homer in the eighth off reliever Trent Thornton that bounced off the top of the wall.

Julio Rodríguez snapped Seattle’s 14-inning scoreless drought when his two-run homer off Framber Valdez gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the sixth. It was his 11th of the season and Rodríguez nearly hit a second longball in the eighth off Ryan Pressly only to watch Trey Cabbage make a leaping catch at the wall in right field.

It was one of two terrific defensive plays by the Astros in the eighth as Joey Loperfido ended the inning with a diving grab of Mitch Garver’s drive into the left-field corner and saved one run from scoring.

Valdez pitched 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits, four walks and struck out six. Tayler Scott (7-3) got the final out of the sixth before Bryan Abreu, Pressly and Josh Hader closed out the final three innings. Hader earned his 20th save.

Kirby allowed four hits and struck out six. Houston’s only run off him came on Peña’s infield single that scored Alex Bregman in the fourth.

UNUSUAL STRIKEOUT

Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez struck out to end the first inning when he was called for a pitch-clock violation for not being ready in the box prior to a 3-2 delivery from Kirby.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHPs Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) and Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery) threw bullpens. Verlander threw about 40 pitches with increased intensity, while Garcia threw 15 pitches. Both are expected to throw again sometime early next week. … C Victor Caratini (hip) was expected to catch for a second straight day at Double-A Corpus Christi.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Ronel Blanco (9-4, 2.56 ERA) has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts, but lost to Texas in his last outing before the All-Star break.

Mariners: RHP Bryan Woo (3-1, 2.45) will make just his second start since June 24. Woo allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings on July 12.

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