Watching the Houston Astros play on Tuesday night, you would never guess that you were watching a team that is 20 games below the .500 mark. A team that can always be counted on for a solid effort put together nine innings of fundamentally sound baseball in a 10-4 rout of the Minnesota Twins.
Robbie Grossman led off the bottom of the first inning with a gritty 11-pitch at-bat . He eventually struck out, but the pitch count was already starting to pile up for Twins’ starter Yohan Pino. Another play that could have easily been overlooked but had an impact was turned in by Jon Singleton. In the second inning, Singleton hit a comebacker that looked like a tailor made double-play ball. But Jon ran hard all the way to first base and beat the ball. I have to give Singleton props for going all out.
Collin McHugh picked up his first win since June 3rd with six innings of 4-hit baseball. His only mistake was a 2nd inning homer by Oswaldo Arcia that gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Jake Marisnick hit a liner into the first row of the Crawford Boxes to start the bottom of the third and , after a 2-out single by Jose Altuve, Chris Carter put the Astros on top with a 2-run homer.
McHugh sailed trough the next three innings, allowing only one base-runner. Bo Porter was all smiles when Carter hit his second homer of the night in the fifth. Carter’s 28th of the year, a 3-run shot, made it 7-1 and chased Pino from the game. The Astros tacked on a couple more runs in the sixth and Porter felt safe going to his bullpen with a 9-1 lead and three innings left to play.
Jose Veras tossed a scoreless seventh and Tony Sipp kept the Twins off the board in the eighth. The only negative of the night was Minnesota’s 3-run ninth against Mike Foltynewicz that included a pair of homeruns.
The Astros go into today’s final game of the homestand with some momentum. Chris Carter has been the league’s hottest hitter since July 1st. His 15 homers, 36 RBIs, .732 slugging and 1.104 OPS are all tops in the league. Brett Oberholtzer takes the mound having pitched at least 6 & 2/3 innings and allowing 3 or fewer runs in each of his last four starts. Dexter Fowler is also scheduled to return from the disabled list.