Minnesota Twins Fight Back but Fall Short in Game 1 Loss vs Houston Astros

MLB: ALDS-Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins played in their first American League Divisional Series since 2004, on Saturday, in what started out as an Astros blowout, but quickly turned into somewhat of a game 1 barn burner.

Related: ALDS: Twins Name Bailey Ober as Game 1 Starter vs Astros

Twins strand runners early, Astros take advantage

Jose Altuve hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 1st inning, but that wasn’t the story early on. Yes, the Astros got out to an early lead that they added onto twice, including two runs in the 3rd and two more in the 5th.

But it was the Twins going 0-for-5 with RISP vs Houston starter, Justin Verlander, that lead to Houston’s early lead. Minnesota had runners on 1st and 2nd with less than two outs in the top of the 1st and 2nd innings, only to hit into 6-4-3 double plays both times.

Yordan Alvarez made it 3-0 in the 3rd, launching a missile into the right field stands [Hint:That wouldn’t be the last time]. Then, in the 5th, the Astros tacked on 2 more runs the old fashioned way, with back-to-back RBI singles from Jose Abreu and Chas McCormick.

Minnesota Twins muster up some 7th inning magic

Heading into the 7th inning, the Minnesota Twins trailed the Houston Astros 5-0. Things can happen fast in baseball, however, and that’s exactly what we saw in game 1, as soon as Justin Verlander was lifted from the contest (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 93 P).

Related: How to watch Minnesota Twins Playoff Games in 2023

In the 7th, the Twins got their first two runners on (Wallner – HBP, Jeffers – 1B), before both Willi Castro (PH for Michael A. Taylor) and Eddie Julien struck out swinging. But just when you thought the Twins were going to leave 2 more runners in scoring positions, Jorge Polanco did this… before Royce Lewis did that.

Yordan Alvarez stops Houston’s bleeding

The Twins failed to add anymore in that 7th inning, however, even after Max Kepler hit a check-swing double, and it would come back to bit them.

Remember that dude I mentioned earlier, Yordan Alvarez, and how he wasn’t done launching homers into the deep bleachers at Minute Maid Park. Yeah, his 2nd one was a solo shot that stopped the bleeding for Houston in the bottom of the 7th.

Twins go away quietly

Unfortunately, the Twins’ 4-run 7th inning magic was all they could muster on Saturday night. Carlos Correa, who went 2/4 on the evening, lead off the 8th inning with a rope down the 3rd base line (he went 2/4 on the night) that he limped out for an easy double, but that would be Minnesota’s final hit of the night. The Astros got 6-straight outs and the game ended in non-dramatic 6-4 fashion.

Houston takes a 1-0 lead in the AL Divisional Series. Game 2 is Sunday at 7:03 PM. Take a look at the starting pitching matchup HERE. If the Twins had won this game, it would have put the Astros on the ropes, given who they have on the mound tomorrow.

Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros game 1 MLB Playoffs ALDS
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Had Minnesota failed to fight back at all, I’d be very concerned with how the rest of this series will go. Instead, I expect them to punch back in a big way in game 2, with plenty of runs for their ace.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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