Porter: 'Walks were an extreme problem'
The Astros lost a game on Monday in which they led by four runs after two innings. But the Twins kept hitting home run after home run and Chris Colabello’s ninth-inning grand slam off Chia-Jen Lo broke a tie and gave the Twins a 10-6 win in the first game of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Colabello had two of Minnesota’s four home runs.
Astros catcher Jason Castro left the game in the second inning with a right knee sprain. It’s the same knee he had ACL surgery on March 4, 2011, causing him to miss the entire 2011 season. Castro came out of the game after his single scored Robbie Grossman making it 4-1 Houston. Castro was replaced by pinch runner Cody Clark, who remained in the game at catcher.
Neither starter lasted long, but Houston starter Paul Clemens lasted longer. In making only his second major league start, Clemens was staked to a 5-1 lead after two innings but couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. In 3 2/3 innings the right-hander allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits – two home runs – with three walks and no strikeouts.
Andrew Albers couldn’t get untracked, allowing five runs and nine hits in only 1 2/3 innings. He struck out two with no walks. Albers may have been better off if he hadn’t thrown so many strikes. Of his 46 pitches, 34 were strikes.
In the bullpen
Lo (0-3) was one out from getting out of the ninth inning unscathed. But he gave up Colabello’s grand slam and that was the difference.
Lucas Harrell came in relief of Clemens and needed only one pitch for the third out of the fourth inning. In 1 1/3 innings Harrell allowed one run – on Brian Dozier’s home run – and three hits with one strikeout and one walk. In two-plus innings Josh Fields allowed one run on no hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Kevin Chapman gave up a single in the eighth that allowed the Twins to tie the game 6-6 but that run was charged to Fields. The left-handed Chapman set a franchise record by starting a career with 13 appearances without allowing an earned run. In one inning Chapman allowed one hit with one intentional walk and one strikeout.
Josh Roenicke (3-1) got the win in relief. Anthony Swarzak relieved Albers and was sharp, allowing only one run and three hits in 4 1/3 innings.
At the plate
Jose Altuve had his second straight game of three hits or more. He had four hits to lead the 13-hit Houston attack. Five of the first six Astros batters had hits as Houston scored three runs in the first. Through two innings the Astros had nine hits in building a 5-1 lead. Castro and Chris Carter had two RBIs each and Altuve and Grossman both scored twice.
Besides Colabello’s two homers, Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier also homered for the Twins. Colabello’s five RBIs are a career high.
In the field
The Astros turned a most unusual double play in the fifth inning with a major contribution coming from woeful base running by the Twins. With no outs and runners at first and second, Chris Herrmann singled to left-center and it appeared Josh Willingham was going to score and tie the game at 6-6. But Willingham stopped halfway to home and shortstop Jonathan Villar ran him down and catcher Clark made the putout for the first out. The second out was recorded on a 2-5 on Hermann as third baseman Matt Dominguez ran down the play to second base, where Minnesota had two runners at the base.
Clark threw out one of two base stealers. Right fielder Darin Mastroianni made a diving catch to rob Trevor Crowe of a hit to end the fourth inning.
Game 2 of the three-game series is Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. Starting for Houston is RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 1.59 ERA) vs. LHP Pedro Hernandez (3-1, 5.54 ERA). Wednesday’s series finale is at 1:10 p.m. Starting for Houston is RHP Jordan Lyles (6-7, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Liam Hendriks (1-2, 5.13 ERA).