With their stagnant offense struggling the way it is, the Houston Astros can’t afford the sort of defensive mistakes center fielder Carlos Gomez made Monday night.
Tyler Duffey pitched six effective innings and Minnesota took advantage of two misplays by Gomez in a three-run fifth that sent the Twins to a 3-1 victory over Houston.
Gomez, the former Twins outfielder, let Jorge Polanco’s single skip by him for a two-base error that allowed one run to score. Then he lost a fly ball off Juan Centeno’s bat, turning it into an RBI triple.
Danny Santana followed with a run-scoring single, and Minnesota won for the seventh time in nine games.
”The first one was hit really hard and I missed (it) in my glove, and the second one, I (didn’t) know where the ball was,” Gomez said. ”We lost the game because of that. I feel worse than anyone in this clubhouse.”
Collin McHugh (7-9) gave up three runs and 10 hits in seven innings, losing his third straight start. Meanwhile, the Astros have dropped 10 of their past 13 games and are averaging 2.28 runs during that stretch.
”We didn’t lose because of defensive blunders,” McHugh said. ”We lost because I gave up 11 hits, 10 hits, something like that. They strung some hits together, put guys on base and scored more runs that we did. One or two plays isn’t deciding the game tonight, that’s for sure.”
Duffey (7-8) permitted one run on four hits and struck out eight. Three relievers combined for three hitless innings, and Brandon Kintzler finished for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Eddie Rosario had three hits for Minnesota, which has come around after a dreadful first half of the season.
Minnesota finished the first half as the worst team in the American League. But since July 2, the Twins have gone 21-12 and lead the majors in runs, hits, doubles and triples.
”With 50 games, we’ve got to keep playing. Kind of enjoying what we’re doing right now, for the most part,” manager Paul Molitor said. ”I think there’s a lot of energy, guys are having fun, a lot of joking going around, which is good as long as the focus is where it needs to be.”
Polanco, called up from the minors when the Twins traded All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez to San Francisco, has hit .378 with six RBIs in nine games since being recalled.
”Those guys are picking us up,” Molitor said of Polanco, Rosario and Santana. ”Can’t say enough about Polanco so far, just the quality of at-bats and what he’s doing for us.”