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Jun 2, 2024 9:27 am

Twins, beware: Astros’ Yordan Alvarez finding power stroke

yordan alvarez

All the hallmarks for an in-season turnaround were there for Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez except for the power, a crucial component given his reputation as a fearsome slugger.

Alvarez entered the second contest of a three-game series Saturday with the Minnesota Twins having hit safely in 12 of his previous 13 games. He compiled a .340 average yet socked only one home run and drove in just two runs during that span. But in the Astros’ 5-2 victory on Saturday, Alvarez went 3-for-3 with his 18th career multi-homer game — and third this season — to help Houston square the weekend series.

He’ll look for another strong outing Sunday in the series finale in Houston.

Alvarez last recorded a multi-homer game on April 27 against the Colorado Rockies in Mexico City. His power vanished in May — Alvarez homered only twice last month while posting a .415 slugging percentage. And, despite the surprising power outage last month, the only player with more multi-homer games this season is Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker, who has four.

It seemed only a matter of time before Alvarez, who hit 31 homers in 2023, reclaimed his slugging form.

“Like I said earlier, those ground balls, those line drives will turn into fly balls and they’ll turn into home runs,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “He’s been on the cusp of starting to get hot. Really good at-bats from Yordan.”

Right-hander Hunter Brown (1-5, 6.39 ERA) is scheduled to start the series rubber match for the Astros. He struck out a season-high nine batters against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and allowed one run on four hits over six innings for his second consecutive quality start. He did not factor into the decision of a 4-2 loss.

Brown finished 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA over five starts last month.

Brown is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA over two career starts against the Twins, both coming last season.

Rookie right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson (2-0, 2.70) has the starting assignment for the Twins on Sunday. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday and earned a 4-2 victory. It marked his first decision since his season debut against the Detroit Tigers on April 13.

In the six starts between his first and second victories, Woods Richardson posted a 2.79 ERA.

Woods Richardson, a Houston-area native, will make his first career start against the Astros.

Twins right-hander Joe Ryan endured an atypical performance on Saturday, allowing a season-high five runs and four homers in taking the loss. Ryan had surrendered just one run over his previous two starts, totaling 14 innings, before facing Alvarez and the Astros.

“Nothing I would look into,” Ryan said of the unexpected homer barrage. “I don’t know how many I’ve given up this year. It seemed like a lot (Saturday).”

–Field Level Media

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