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May 31, 2024 11:14 pm

Big hits, strong pitching combine to power Twins over Astros

twins castro

Pablo Lopez twirled seven strong innings while Trevor Larnach and Carlos Santana slugged home runs as the visiting Minnesota Twins maximized their five extra-base hits en route to a 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday.

Lopez (5-5) snapped a three-start losing skid by matching his season high for innings pitched. He allowed one run on six hits and one walk while recording six strikeouts to earn his first victory since May 9.

Lopez surrendered a leadoff home run to Alex Bregman in the fourth inning, with Bregman pulling Houston to within 2-1 with his seventh homer this season. But as he did in the second, Lopez retired Chas McCormick and Yainer Diaz with runners on first and second and one out, getting McCormick to strike out and Diaz to ground out on both occasions.

Jose Altuve stroked a leadoff single in the fifth, and he was the last player to reach against Lopez, who retired the final nine batters he faced. Lopez needed only eight pitches to complete the sixth inning and closed his 93-pitch outing with a strikeout of Altuve. He threw 67 strikes.

The Twins won for the eighth time in 10 games by making Astros starter Ronel Blanco (5-1) work. The top of the third was especially laborious for Blanco, who needed 32 pitches to complete that frame. Willi Castro (triple) and Jose Miranda (11-pitch walk) reached in succession to open that inning. Carlos Correa added an RBI double before Alex Kirilloff delivered a sacrifice fly that supplied the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Larnach clubbed a two-run homer off Blanco with one out in the fifth, driving home Castro following his leadoff walk. Blanco logged 4 2/3 innings, his shortest outing excluding his ejection on May 14 against Oakland. He allowed four runs, three hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

To open the eighth, Santana greeted Astros reliever Alex Speas with his eighth home run of the year.

The Twins’ first five hits went for extra bases, with Byron Buxton snapping the run with a bloop single leading off the ninth.

–Field Level Media

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