Offensive Woes Continue; Twins Spank Astros
McHugh Betrayed By Gomez Gaffes

Gomez: Wearing out welcome
(c) Associated Press
Carlos Gomez probably hasn't played his last for the Houston Astros but the former All-Star Jeff Luhnow traded for and hoped to parlay into a draft pick in this winter's free agent has seen the bottom drop out of any value he might have had to the Astros or anyone else.

After missing Jorge Palanco's single in the fifth inning, turning it from a single into three bases and ending Monday's scoreless tie against the Twins, Gomez watched helplessly as Juan Centeno's fly to the center field warning track fell some 40 feet behind him for an RBI triple which was enough for Minnesota to sink the weak-hitting Houstonians, 3-1.

Losing pitcher Collin McHugh watched just as helplessly from behind the mound as his normally dependable defense betrayed him in the loss. After Eddie Rosario opened with a single to right to open the frame, Gomez' error gave Minnesota their first run then his Twilight Zone gaffe gave the Twins their second run. Danny Santana singled home Centeno and that was all the runs Minnesota would need before almost 21,000 at the Bullseye.

It was up to the kids to finally shake the woeful Houston offense out of their doldrums against Rice alum Tyler Duffey. Tony Kemp drew a one-out walk then Alex Bregman singled to center where Rosario, in contrast to Gomez, played it on the hop. George Springer drilled a double into the right field corner that brought home Kemp but Duffey got out of the inning by retiring Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis.

Jose Altuve was rested, ending his majors-leading 202 consecutive games streak. He had been sat once before back in May but wound up entering the game late. This time, despite trailing in a close game, Mighty Mouse stayed helplessly on the bench.

Not that there weren't times it must have been tempting to ask him to grab a bat, particularly when his teammates could scrap just four hits on the evening - something Altuve has been known to do all by himself on occasion. Yet, the wee fellow's play has looked ragged lately. It was another miscue on a night full of them.

The Twinkies have won nine of twelve while the skydiving Astros have dropped nine of their past eleven. Minnesota will send newly-acquired lefty Hector Santiago (10-5) to the hill on Tuesday night. The former Angel is 1-2 lifetime against Houston yet with a respectable 3.69 ERA in ten appearances.

Mike Fiers (7-5) will pitch for Houston. The Hollywood, FL, product has strung together three solid outings since a pair of bad ones threatened to bump him from the rotation in July. He is 9-6 with a 3.99 ERA as an Astros - a dividend that Luhnow can salvage from the mess that was the Gomez trade of a year ago.

- Bob Hulsey