The Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins will play a doubleheader of sorts on Thursday after a wave of thunderstorms forced the suspension of Wednesday’s game in Minneapolis.
The teams will pick up the first game starting at the top of the fourth inning with the Astros leading 5-1. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the first game ends.
Both teams will be able to carry a 27th player on their active roster for the second game.
Houston has won eight games in a row and will begin Thursday with a comfortable advantage as it attempts to continue the roll. The Astros fell behind 1-0 in the first inning Wednesday before scoring two runs in the second inning and three more in the third.
Jeremy Pena had three RBIs with a sacrifice fly in the second and a two-run single in the third. The Astros also received contributions from Jose Siri, who had an RBI single in the second, and Jose Altuve, who clubbed a home run to lead off the third.
The opposite-field shot was Altuve’s fifth homer of the season.
The Twins will turn to their bullpen to finish off the first game, and the Astros likely will, too. Houston starter Jose Urquidy allowed one run in three innings before play was suspended Wednesday. Minnesota starter Chris Archer gave up five runs (four earned) in three innings.
Twins reliever Yennier Cano was ready to come in and replace Archer to start the fourth, but heavy rains came in as he was taking his warmup pitches. Cano is looking to face major league hitters for the first time after he was promoted Wednesday from Triple-A Saint Paul.
In the second game, Astros right-hander Luis Garcia (2-1, 3.45 ERA) is set to take the mound against Twins right-hander Josh Winder (2-0, 1.61).
Garcia, a 25-year-old from Venezuela, has 28 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings this season. He is coming off his second consecutive quality start, when he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in seven innings against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
In two career starts against Minnesota, Garcia is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.
Winder, a 25-year-old Virginia native, is off to a terrific start to his rookie campaign. He has appeared in five games and has won both of his starts, fanning 20 in 22 1/3 innings overall.
Winder will oppose Houston for the first time in his brief career.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton returned Wednesday from a two-game absence caused by a hip injury. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout before play was suspended.
“I’m just going to go out there and play my game,” Buxton said before taking the field. “If I go out there and try to do something else, it would probably lead to more injuries or something worse. So just go out there, be myself and leave it out there.”
Meanwhile, Pena will try to stay hot for the Astros. He connected with Carlos Correa, the longtime Astros shortstop who signed with Minnesota during the offseason, before the start of the series.
“He always made me feel like part of the club,” Pena said. “You don’t forget things like that.”
Correa is currently on the injured list due to bruised right middle finger.
–Field Level Media