MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chas McCormick had four RBIs, Hunter Brown combined on a two-hitter and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 Sunday to salvage the series finale.
The World Series champions are 4-6 after winning for just the second time in seven games.
Mauricio Dubón had two hits and scored two runs, while Jeremy Peña and Yainer Diaz each had two hits for the Astros, who avoided a three-game sweep.
Brown (1-1) allowed an unearned run and two hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts and two walks, rebounding from a shaky first start in which he gave up four earned runs and didn’t get out of the fifth inning against Detroit.
Brown reached 98.2 mph with his fastball, mixing 28 fastballs, 35 sliders, 33 knuckle-curves and one splitter.
Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly each worked a scoreless inning for Houston, which entered the series with seven wins in its previous eight games at Minnesota.
Tyler Mahle (1-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings.
McCormuck hit two-out, two-run homer in the third, an opposite-field drive that just cleared the overhang in right field. He added a two-run, two-out single in the fifth for a 4-1 lead, a four-hopper up the middle.
Donovan Solano had an RBI single in the fourth after Byron Buxton singled and advanced on third baseman Alex Bregman’s throwing error.
Peña added a run-scoring double in the eighth off Emilio Pagán.
Houston’s Kyle Tucker was ejected in the eighth inning by plate umpire Mark Carlson. Tucker hit a bases-loaded grounder to second baseman Nick Gordon, who threw home for a forceout. Catcher Ryan Jeffers’ throw hit Tucker on on elbow, and Tucker was called out by Carlson, apparently for being outside the runner’s lane when hit. As manager Dusty Baker came out to argue, Tucker apparently said something to the umpire that triggered the ejection.
After Saturday’s loss, Baker led a contingent of from the team’s traveling party to U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, for a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.
“My spirit needed that,” said the 73-year-old Baker, whose defending World Series champions lost six of their first nine games this season.
Baker went backstage and even got a shoutout on Twitter from the band’s bassist, Flea. Baker said he’d previously been introduced to Flea by musically inclined pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who played for Baker in Cincinnati.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (0-1, 1.50 ERA) will take the mound as Houston opens a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday. Valdez has allowed just two runs over 12 innings in his first two starts.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (0-1, 1.80) makes his second start of the season on Monday afternoon as the Twins welcome the White Sox to Target Field to start a three-game series. Maeda, who missed the 2022 season after Tommy John surgery, gave up one run and struck out nine in five innings at Miami in his return on April 4.
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