Poor starting pitching dooms Minnesota in doubleheader sweep

Published 8:16 am Friday, August 12, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Making a spot start after nearly two weeks in the bullpen, Tommy Milone had a strong first inning in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday night.

Then he was another victim of an offensive awakening by the Houston Astros.

Evan Gattis homered and had four RBIs, Carlos Correa went deep for the third straight game and Houston beat the Minnesota Twins 10-2 to sweep a doubleheader.

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Houston had 16 hits in the nightcap, three fewer than it had in a 15-7 win during the day. The 35 combined hits and 25 runs rank second in franchise doubleheader history.

The doubleheader was necessitated by a rainout Wednesday, a game Minnesota led 5-0 in the third before storms arrived.

For the better part of two weeks, Houston’s offense was lacking. Before scoring seven runs in a win Tuesday, Houston scored 18 runs in its previous 10 games, winning just twice.

“We had one continual day of offense that didn’t stop,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “It was a fun day; a long day, pretty exhausting, but to walk out of here with two wins after being down by a lot of runs in the rain is a pretty good feeling.”

The Twins didn’t feel the same.

“We had to deal with last night and we’re trying to turn the page from that. It didn’t turn out particularly well,” manager Paul Molitor said. “A couple short outings from our starters taxed us fairly well.”

Jose Berrios (2-3) and Milone (3-4) combined to give up 10 earned runs in five innings.

Berrios was ineffective for the third straight start, lasting just two innings and giving up six runs and eight hits. Since his Aug. 1 recall from Triple-A, he has allowed 12 earned runs in 13 innings.

In seven starts this season, the righty has a 9.32 ERA over 28 innings, permitting 39 hits and 14 walks.

Milone experienced soreness in his shoulder and bicep and said he is “not 100 percent.” He will get an MRI today

“It’s been (bugging me) a little bit, but it’s been manageable,” he said. “It’s back maybe a month or so. It’s to the point where I’d make a start and use those four days to get ready for the next start and it was fine. But going to the bullpen and coming back from a lot of pitches probably added some stress to it.”

Minnesota has a league-worst 4.97 ERA and used four relievers in the first game before shortstop Eduardo Escobar got the final three outs.

It only needed one in the second game.

Andrew Albers, called up to be the Twins’ 26th player, made his first appearance since May 1, 2015 with Toronto and pitched the final six innings. He gave up five runs — three earned — including two runs in each of his first two innings.

Albers threw 108 pitches, tying the team record for most by a reliever in one outing — Oscar Munoz did the same on Aug. 21, 1995.

“What he did, you can’t underscore enough,” Molitor said. “He came out and got banged around the first couple innings and ended up throwing 108 pitches.”

Kennys Vargas homered from both sides of the plate in game one. Miguel Sano had two hits in the second game, including an RBI double, against Chris Devenski (1-4), who earned his first career win.

Doug Fister (11-7) allowed eight hits and five earned runs in seven-plus innings to earn the Game 1 win.


Lots of arms

Escobar and Albers became the 25th and 26th players to pitch for the Twins this season, a franchise record. The old record was 25 in 2012.


Trainer’s room

Twins: After allowing six runs in the first game, LHP Buddy Boshers was placed on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation. An MRI is planned for Friday.


Up next

Twins: Minnesota is scheduled to send Kyle Gibson (4-6, 4.86) to the hill today as it welcomes Kansas City for a three-game set. The Royals plan to counter with Yordano Ventura (7-9, 4.64).