Myndi Luevano: Clint Capela is the X-factor in the Western Conference Finals

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Myndi Luevano: Clint Capela is the X-factor in the Western Conference Finals
Watch for Rockets' Clint Capela to put his stamp on the series. Courtesy photo

The Rockets-Warriors series finally starts tonight, and one player to keep an eye on is Rockets' big man, Clint Capela. Houston will look to take advantage of Capela's ability to block shots, play defense, and score efficiently around the basket. He could be a real difference maker for the Rockets.

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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.


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.


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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