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Three-run sixth inning lifts Astros over Twins

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Three-run sixth inning lifts Astros over Twins
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MINNEAPOLIS – The Houston Astros, powered by a three-run sixth inning, won the first of a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Friday night at Target Field.

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After a pair of solo home runs put Houston up 2-0 early, the Astros flexed their muscles again in the sixth, getting a leadoff triple from center fielder Dexter Fowler, an RBI single by second baseman Jose Altuve and a two-run homer by rookie right fielder George Springer, his team-leading 11th homer of the season.

All of the damage was off of Twins starter Phil Hughes, who went six innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits. He walked none and struck out seven. It was Hughes’ first non-quality start and first loss (6-2) since April 15.

Minnesota finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh, but not until after Astros starter Dallas Keuchel had left the game. The Twins got back-to-back doubles from shortstop Eduardo Escobar and center fielder Aaron Hicks to get one run across ahead of designated hitter Danny Santana, who hit his first career home run on a line drive into the left-field bleachers, pulling the Twins to within two at 5-3.

Two straight doubles in the eighth, including an RBI two-bagger from Escobar, made it 5-4.

Keuchel earned the win (6-3), tossing six shutout innings and allowing five hits – four singles and a double – while walking two and striking out six.

Chad Qualls worked a scoreless ninth for his seventh save in eight opportunities.

After rain delayed the start of the game by 80 minutes, the Astros got on the board first in the third inning as shortstop Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run to right for a 1-0 lead.

Houston made it 2-0 on another solo home run one inning later, this one by third baseman Matt Dominguez. The blast was Dominguez’s ninth of the season.

Through five innings, Minnesota was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base.

NOTES: Twins RF Oswaldo Arcia (sprained right ankle) was not in the starting lineup Friday but was available off the bench. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he hoped Arcia would be ready for designated hitter duty on Saturday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe doubled in the fourth inning, his 22nd two-bagger of the season, tying a career high. ... Twins RHP Phil Hughes entered play Friday with a streak of eight straight quality starts. ... Astros RHP Dallas Keuchel entered his start Friday having tossed at least six innings in 10 straight starts – the fourth-longest streak in the majors.

HOU ab r h bi MIN ab r h bi

Fowler cf 4 1 1 0 Santana dh 5 1 1 2

Altuve 2b 4 1 1 1 Dozier 2b 5 0 0 0

Springr rf 4 1 1 2 Mauer 1b 4 0 1 0

Castro c 4 0 1 0 Wllnghm lf 5 0 1 0

Domnguz 3b 4 1 3 1 Plouffe 3b 4 0 1 0

Snglton 1b 4 0 0 0 Kubel rf 4 0 0 0

Carter dh 4 0 0 0 Suzuki c 4 1 1 0

Grossmn lf 3 0 0 0 Escobar ss 4 1 3 1

Gonzalz ss 3 1 1 1 Hicks cf 2 1 2 1

     Arcia ph 1 0 0 0

     Gurrir rp 0 0 0 0

Totals 34 5 8 5 Totals 38 4 10 4

Houston  001 103 000 — 5

Minnesota  000 000 310 — 4

E—Dominguez 1. LOB—Minnesota 9, Houston 2. 2B—E.Escobar 2 (18), A.Hicks (5), Plouffe (22), K.Suzuki (11). 3B—Fowler (3). HR—Dominguez (9), Ma.Gonzalez (2), D.Santana (1), Springer (11). SB—Mauer (3).

 IP H R ER BB SO

Houston

Keuchel W, 7-3 6 5 0 0 2 6

Sipp X\c 3 3 3 0 1

Williams H, 2 1 2 1 1 0 0

D.Downs H, 3 Z\c 0 0 0 0 0

Qualls S, 7 1 0 0 0 0 0

Minnesota

P.Hughes L, 6-2 6 6 5 5 0 7

Duensing 1 0 0 0 0 1

Guerrier 2 2 0 0 0 1

Inherited runners-scored—D.Downs 1-0.

Umpires—Home, Will Little; First, Alfonso Marquez; Second, Ted Barrett; Third, Paul Schrieber.

T—3:0. A—29,448 (42,035)

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