Jorge Polanco hits homers twice, Twins beat Astros 7-5

MLB

HOUSTON (AP)Jorge Polanco homered twice and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano also hit a home run and the Minnesota Twins beat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Sunday.

Polanco hit a solo home run in the fifth and a three-run shot to right in the sixth to help the Twins build a 7-3 lead. Sano hit a monstrous two-run homer to left in the fourth.

Polanco finished 13 for 40 with five home runs and 10 RBI on Minnesota’s nine-game road trip.

”I don’t know what to say except he is really feeling it at the plate,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said about Polanco. ”The quality at bats is just very, very high across the board. He’s always had the contact skills. He’s always been able to spray the ball all over the ballfield. When he’s getting a mistake, he’s really hammering it, hitting the ball hard really to all fields. He’s a very confident hitter right now.”

Trevor Larnach tied it at 1 in the second with an RBI single. Max Kepler had three hits for Minnesota, which won three of four against the Astros.

”We went out there, did our jobs, played hard, had some big at bats,” Baldelli said. ”Hit some balls out of the ballpark today. Took some big individual efforts to get a great team win, but really, it was a lot of different guys again.”

Kenta Maeda (5-4) allowed three runs on six hits with five strikeouts in five innings. He won for the first time since July 4.

”Today probably wasn’t the best outing in terms of pitching in my rhythm and staying within myself, but I was able to get outs with the minimum of runs,” Maeda said through a translator. ”To pick up a win, and the team win is huge.”

Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Lance McCullers Jr. (9-3) allowed four runs on a season-high eight hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He lost for the first time since July 8.

”I thought my stuff was fine,” McCullers said. ”Some counts here and there, try to make better pitches. . It’s one of those things, I got to roll with the punches. Other than the Sano at bat, it didn’t feel like any other balls were coming off the bat with much intent, just a lot of well-placed balls.”

Houston has lost four of its last five games.

”They hit the ball well against us,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. ”We made some mistakes – walked some guys ahead of homers, hit into double plays. . It’s very disappointing.”

Houston’s Taylor Jones had an RBI single in the fourth, and Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single in the fifth. Aledmys Diaz hit an RBI double in the seventh, and Carlos Correa hit a solo home run in the eighth to cut the lead to two.

Chas McCormick gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring on a throwing error by Polanco after Diaz had singled to shallow right field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: INF Josh Donaldson (right hamstring) was out of a lineup for a second straight game on Sunday. Baldelli said Donaldson was a little sore and getting treatment as the Twins work through a timeline for when he could return to the lineup. Baldelli was hopeful Donaldson would not need to go on the injured list.

Astros: DH Michael Brantley left the game for precautionary reasons in the third after being struck in the head and shaken up in the first inning on a collision with Andrelton Simmons at second base. Jake Meyers replaced Brantley. . RHP Rafael Montero exited in the eighth with shoulder soreness, Baker said. . 3B Alex Bregman (left quadriceps strain) returned to Houston on Sunday to give an update on his rehabilitation, Baker said. ”We will talk to him and see what kind of progress he’s making physically and mentally about when we might activate him,” Baker said.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Beau Burrows (0-0, 11.00 ERA) will be the starter for the opener of the three-game series at home against the White Sox on Monday. Burrows will make his first career start.

Astros: After an off day on Monday, RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-6, 4.95 ERA) will start a two-game series against the Rockies on Tuesday. Odorizzi struggled in his last start Wednesday against the Dodgers, getting tagged for six runs in three innings.

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