HOUSTON — No Byron Buxton. No Carlos Correa. No Royce Lewis. No problem, apparently.
The Minnesota Twins’ starting lineup was without some of its big names on Wednesday, but a collection of others stepped in to help lead an 8-2 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Twins, who lost all six games against the Astros last season, sealed the season series against the defending World Series champions, winning a pair of games at home against Houston in April before taking two of three on the road.
They did it Wednesday with a combination of something they’ve seen a lot this season — a fantastic outing by a starting pitcher — and something they’ve seen very little of — hits with the bases loaded.
First, Louie Varland had the best start of his young career, keeping a potent Astros lineup quiet for seven innings. Varland exited at just 86 pitches, to hugs and congratulations for a job well done.
Though Jorge Lopez came on in relief and had yet another shaky outing — he gave up two home runs, walked a batter and hit another before departing the game — the Twins’ offense had built a substantial lead to weather the poor appearance.
That’s thanks in large part to the team snapping its 0-for-14 skid with the bases loaded, an unexplained phenomenon that has plagued it throughout the season. Donovan Solano was the guy to snap that streak, knocking in a pair of runs with an opposite-field single in the third inning.
Two innings later, the Twins came through with the bases loaded once again. Ryan Jeffers’s double, which brought home two more runs, was the team’s first extra-base hit with the bags packed all season.
The Twins tacked on throughout the game, creating the necessary separation to pull away from the Astros. Solano added another pair of runs with a double in the sixth inning, driving in Willi Castro and Michael A. Taylor. That duo, at the bottom of the lineup, was on base a combined six
times, scoring five of the Twins’ eight runs.
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.