McCann celebrates 3-run blast
(c) Associated Press
Fresh off a 4-day hiatus to accommodate the All-Star game, the Astros started the second half of the season the same way they finished the first -- with an offensive outburst resulting in an impressive win. Brian McCann's 3-run homer capped an 8-run second inning propelling the Astros to a 10-5 win over the Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park.
Brian Dozier staked the visitors to a 1-0 advantage with a leadoff home run off Houston's Charlie Morton. But Jorge Polanco's failure to field a tailor-made double-play grounder that would have ended the second inning opened the flood gates for the league's most prolific offense. After Minnesota's shortstop booted Yuli Gurriel's grounder, five of the next six batters reached base, chasing starting pitcher Jose Berrios from the contest.
Phil Hughes took over on the mound and, after getting ahead in the count with two quick strikes, fell victim to McCann's eleventh longball of the season. The Astros tagged Hughes for two more runs in the third. Marwin Gonzalez led off the frame with a home run to straight-away centerfield and Josh Reddick added a run-scoring single.
The Twins trimmed Houston's lead to 10-4 in the fourth when Morton walked the bases full and Dozier sent all three runners home with a double to the gap in left-center. Morton's control issues persisted in the fifth as a hit batsman helped the Twins add another run. Uncle Charlie needed 108 pitches to navigate the first five innings before handing a 5-run lead to the Astros' bullpen.
Michael Feliz ran into control problems of his own and gave way to Chris Devenski with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth. Devo retired former Astro Robbie Grossman to end the threat and added a scoreless seventh to earn his 12th hold of the year.
Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles mopped up the final two innings, helping the Astros nail down their 61st win of the season.
Reddick had two hits and drove in two runs and Jose Altuve added a pair of hits to raise his league-leading average to .349. Gonzalez had three hits, drove in two, and scored two.
Morton finished with ten strikeouts and qualified for his seventh win, but allowed five walks as his ERA climbed above the 4.00 mark.
The two teams reconvene Saturday at 6:10 for the second game of a 3-game series. Joe Musgrove gets the start for the Astros against fellow right-hander Ervin Santana.
- Greg Thurston