Twins can’t score against Astros’ bullpen Tuesday

Twins can’t score against Astros’ bullpen Tuesday

George Springer reached base in his first three plate appearances and the Houston Astros relied on their bullpen to close out a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Springer finished 1-for-2 with two runs, two walks and two RBIs to pace an offense that made the most of its five hits. Center fielder Carlos Gomez, making his return after missing three games with rib soreness, was the lone starter to record a multi-hit game, recording two doubles.

Right-handers Ken Giles, Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson preserved the win for right-hander Collin McHugh (3-3), who allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Gregerson earned his sixth save by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

The Twins (8-19) managed just one base runner against the Houston (9-18) bullpen, with second baseman Brian Dozier reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Carlos Correa to open the eighth inning.

Springer was the catalyst from his initial plate appearance, drawing the first of his consecutive walks. When he reached with no outs in the third inning, Astros catcher Jason Castro had already cut the deficit in half with his leadoff home run off Twins right-hander Alex Meyer.

Springer followed a walk to Jose Altuve and advanced to third when Carlos Correa roped a single to left field that scored Altuve and pulled Houston even at 2-2.

Springer scored the go-ahead run when Meyer uncorked a wild pitch before departing with two outs in the second.

When Springer strolled to the plate with two outs in the fourth, the Astros had extended their lead to 4-2. He added to that advantage with a mammoth two-run shot to left off Twins left-hander Tommy Milone. That blast, his sixth, cleared the train tracks above the Crawford Boxes and plated Castro, who walked and advanced via a balk and a wild pitch.

McHugh departed with a lead despite giving up a pair of homers. Danny Santana stroked a leadoff shot in the first inning, his first on the season, and Byung Ho Park chased McHugh with his opposite-field shot to right field with two outs in the sixth inning.

In between, McHugh proved resilient. Joe Mauer delivered an RBI groundout in the third inning and Brian Dozier added a run-scoring single in the fifth but McHugh retired the Twins in order in the second and fourth innings, effectively stifling their ability to build momentum.

NOTES: Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and the club optioned IF Jorge Polanco to Triple-A Rochester. Plouffe missed 14 games with a right intercostal strain and played two games with Class A Ft. Myers on his rehab assignment. In the six games before his DL stint, Plouffe batted .435 (10-for-23) with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs. … Astros C Max Stassi joined Triple-A Fresno to begin his rehab assignment after surgery for a left wrist hamate fracture. Stassi was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 29. He will catch RHP Lance McCullers on Saturday in El Paso in what will be McCullers’ first rehab start (right shoulder soreness). … According to Elias, RHP Jose Berrios, at 21 years, 341 days old, became the youngest Twins pitcher to win a road start since Pat Mahomes on May 19, 1992, in Toronto at 21 years and 284 days.