Minnesota bounces back to even the series at one game apiece, highlighted by a stellar performance from a starting pitcher they traded for a “slugger.
The Minnesota Twins rallied for a 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the 2023 Major League Baseball American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Monday (Sept. 9).
Minnesota started Pablo Lopez and sent Donovan Solano (first base), Jorge Polanco (second base), Royce Lewis (designated hitter), Carlos Correa (shortstop), Ryan Jeffers (catcher), Willie Castro (left field), Kyle Palmer (third base), Max Kepler (right field), and Michael A. Taylor (center field) in the top nine of the batting order.
Houston countered with starter Framber Valdez and a starting lineup of Jose Altuve (second base), Alex Bregman (third base), Jordan Alvarez (left field), Kyle Tucker (right field), Jose Abreu (first base), Michael Brantley (designated hitter), Chase McCormick (center field), Jeremy Peña (shortstop), and Martin Maldonado (catcher).
Minnesota got on the board in the top of the first inning. After Polanco led off the inning with a walk, Minnesota put runners on the corners when Lewis struck out swinging, but Correa hit a two-run double to left-center to score the first run.
Houston threatened in the bottom of the first as Altuve bunted toward third base, but failed to score as Bregman struck out swinging, Alvarez flied out to right field and Tucker grounded out to center field.
Minnesota then made it 3-0 in the top of the second when Castro led off with a single up the middle and Palmer followed with a two-run homer to left-center field. It was Palmer’s first home run of the postseason this year. Palmer took a 94-mph (151-kilometer) sinker from Houston starter Valdez and sent it over the fence.
Houston had a chance in the bottom of the third when Peña led off with a pitcher’s choice, but Maldonado wasted it when he hit a grounder to third, second and first. Altuve singled to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Lopez, but Bregman flied out to center field.
Houston’s best chance came in the bottom of the fourth. After Tucker led off with a walk and Brantley singled to left two batters later to put runners on second and third, the Astros were unable to capitalize as McCormick struck out swinging. Lopez, the Minnesota starter, struck out McCormick on three pitches. The deciding pitch was a 96-mph (154-kilometer) four-seam fastball.
Minnesota came alive again in the top of the fifth when Taylor led off with a single up the middle and Solano followed with a single to right. A fielder’s choice by Polanco and a walk to Lewis loaded the bases for Minnesota, and Correa singled up the middle to score both runners and make it 5-0. Houston sent Phil Meyton to the mound in place of Valdez.
Houston threatened in the bottom of the fifth when Peña led off with a double to left and loaded the bases, but Maldonado was hit by a pitch, Altuve grounded out to second and Bregman struck out to end the threat.
Minnesota drove in a run in the top of the seventh. One out later, Lewis singled up the middle and Correa followed with a double to left. Jeffers drew a walk and Minnesota had the bases loaded when Castro struck out, but Eduard Julien, who pinch-hit for Palmer, lined a single to right for a 6-0 lead.
Houston was only able to get into the scoring hunt after Lopez was removed from the mound. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Bregman drew a walk and Alvarez followed with a two-run homer to left-center field. Alvarez’s third home run of the postseason.
But Minnesota sent reliever Johan Duran to the mound in the bottom of the ninth to shut down Houston’s rally. Duran got Brantley to fly out to second, McCormick to fly out to shortstop, and Peña to fly out to center field.
The game was over in three hours and nine minutes. Once again, Lopez was the star of the show for Minnesota. Lopez threw 105 pitches over seven innings, allowing six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He used a mix of pitches, including a four-seam fastball (33), changeup (27), sinker (23), sweeper (16), and curve (6), with his four-seam fastball topping out at 97 mph (156 km/h) and his sinker at 96.8 mph (156 km/h).
Lopez was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with the Miami Marlins prior to the season. To acquire Lopez, Minnesota had to use Luis Araez, the American League batting champion last year, as a trade chip. Arajuez won the National League batting title again this year, hitting .354.
Lopez, who established himself as a full-time starter in Miami last year with a 10-10 record and 3.75 ERA in 180 innings pitched, stayed in the rotation this year with an 11-8 record and 3.66 ERA in 194 innings pitched.카지노사이트
At the plate, Correa went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Correa wasn’t the only Minnesota player with multiple hits on the day.
For Houston, it was a tough outing for starter Valdez, who gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings, and while Altuve went 2-for-4 and Peña went 2-for-4, no one else had multi-hit games.
The series will now move to Minnesota’s home ballpark, Target Field, for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will be played at Target Field on Nov. 11, with Game 4 at the same venue on Nov. 12.