It was a light night on the rivalry front yesterday. The rest of the clubs that matter in the AL East (which is to say, the teams other than the Orioles) were off, meaning we just had one series of AL rivals to scoreboard watch on.
That series was Astros vs. Twins, which, due to Wednesday’s game being suspended, gave us at least a couple contests to keep an eye on. Here’s what went down in Minnesota.
Houston Astros (19-11) vs. Minnesota Twins (18-12)
These two had their game halted after three innings with Houston leading 5-1. Jose Urquidy had started for the Astros, while Chris Archer went for Minnesota. Houston hit Archer hard, with Jose Altuve crushing a homer and Jeremy Peña driving home three.
When play resumed, the Astros turned to Bryan Abreu, and the Twins to Yennier Cano. Minnesota managed to scratch a run across against Pena to cut the Houston lead to 5-2, but from there, the Astros went right back to work. The Astros batted around in the top of the sixth and hung a six-spot on Cano and Cody Stashak. Kyle Tucker smacked a solo shot to start things off, and Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman all brought home runs with doubles. Phil Maton, Ryne Stanek, and Hector Neris worked the later innings without much incident as Houston cruised to an 11-3 victory.
In game two, Houston sent out Luis Garcia, and the Twins countered with Josh Winder. The Astros kept grinding the Minnesota staff away, cahsing Winder after one out in the fourth. Chas McCormick got in on the action with an RBI single in the second, and Yordan Alvarez put the hurt on with a two-run shot in the third:
On the other side, the Twins had little fight in them. Garcia managed five shutout with nine strikeouts. The Astro staff on the whole racked up 13 strikeouts against just two walks. Alvarez added a second blast in the ninth to take the score to its final tally at 5-0.
So there you have it. The Astros took care of business in Minnesota, won their 10th in a row, and moved into first place in the AL West, a half-game beyond the Angels. FanGraphs has the Astros as a big favorite in the division again, giving them something like 3-to-1 odds to take the West.