MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jake Odorizzi punched out Yuli Gurriel looking, and the usually stoic right-hander couldn’t help but clench his fist and let out a yell.
Odorizzi and the Minnesota Twins made another early season statement.
Odorizzi pitched seven solid innings to outduel Justin Verlander, Ehire Adrianza homered off Houston’s ace and Minnesota beat the Astros 1-0 Monday night.
“There’s not too many times where I show emotion when I pitch,” Odorizzi said. “But certain instances, I feel like, it kind of takes you over. That was definitely one of them. I think hopefully there’s more times this year.”
Odorizzi (3-2) gave up four hits while beating Houston for the second time in two starts. He walked one and struck out seven, and Minnesota won for the eighth time in 10 games. Blake Parker recorded his sixth save.
Adrianza’s first homer of the season led off the third. He hit a towering, deep shot to the plaza in right field on a full count against Verlander (4-1), who allowed two hits, walked two and struck out seven over six innings.
“Adrianza doesn’t normally hit the fastball in like that,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “Pulls the ball, hits the homer, these guys have homered a lot. At that point in the game, you don’t think it’s going to be the difference in the game. But 1-0, pitchers’ duel, one swing can be the difference obviously.”
Adrianza check swung on the pitch prior to the home run and the umpires said he didn’t swing. Verlander and catcher Robinson Chirinos felt Adrianza went around, but Verlander didn’t blame the umpires.
“I think slow, in slow-mo, you can say, ‘Yeah he went,'” Verlander said. “But this game isn’t played in slow motion and these umpires have a difficult job to do. Live speed, I thought it was a very questionable, 50/50 call. Adrianza did a great job of not breaking his hands so that it didn’t look like the bat went as far as it actually did.”
Coming off a dominant sweep of Baltimore, the Twins faced Houston for the second time in a week. They also saw Verlander in the previous series, when he gave up one run and needed just 98 pitches to get through eight innings.
This time around, the Twins made Verlander work, and he was out after 100 pitches.
The Astros were more aggressive against Odorizzi, who had 52 pitches through five innings. Josh Reddick led off the second with a single before Odorizzi set down 13 straight.
“I went with the curveball less,” Odorizzi said of the change from the last outing. “I think I only threw like two or three of them. I think the last game I threw like 20. So, we went more cutter, slider today. It’s tough to go with the same look twice against a team of that caliber.”
JOINING THE CLUB
Minnesota has 50 home runs this year, a franchise record for games through the end of April. Adrianza and Jake Cave were the only Twins with more than five at-bats this season not to homer.
“Thank God I’ve got one now,” Adrianza said.
Astros: OF George Springer was out of the starting lineup for a day of rest but pinch-hit for Jake Marisnick against Taylor Rogers in the eighth inning.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano (right heel laceration) will start a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Tuesday. Sano hasn’t played this season after getting injured while celebrating his team’s winter league championship in the Dominican Republic. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Sano will start with partial games and eventually work himself back up, including expected stops in Double-A and Triple-A.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (1-4, 4.71 ERA) will start Tuesday for Houston and will be opposed by right-hander Michael Pineda (2-1, 5.63). Cole lost his second straight start in his last outing, giving up two runs in seven innings against Cleveland. Pineda makes his second straight start against the Astros. He surrendered four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision last week in Houston.