Odorizzi Quiets Astros Again

Who was that masked man?
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Jake Odorizzi has the Astros' number. Can't figure out why but the former Tampa Bay Ray has faced Houston four times in his career and is now 3-0 with an ERA under one in those games. That trend continued Tuesday night in frigid Minnesota as the Twins topped the Astros, 4-1, to even their early-season series at one apiece.

The loss also dropped the 9-3 Astros to a first-place tie with the Angels of Anaheim who sport the same won-loss record.

Odorizzi tossed six innings in the 39-degree cold, allowing a run and five hits with five walks. Three relievers silenced Houston for the final three innings. The Astros had chances, stranding nine runners, but the Astros' offense has been as cold as the Minnesota air. They have scored just 12 runs in their last six games.

Jake Marisnick drove in the only Houston tally on Tuesday with a line single to left that plated Josh Reddick in the second.

Dallas Keuchel doesn't seem to like pitching in cold weather. The lefty opened the 2016 season in chilly New York and did not seem right the rest of the season. On Tuesday, he started out with a tapper that was originally called out but replay overturned the call, putting Brian Dozier on first. Eduardo Escobar eventually chased Dozier home with a sacrifice fly. Former Astro Robbie Grossman then drilled a double for a 2-0 lead.

Keuchel pitched through more trouble in the second, filling the bases then issuing a walk to Joe Mauer for a 3-1 Minnesota edge. His night was over after just four innings, allowing three runs, five hits and four walks while fanning six. Collin McHugh, Hector Rondon and Joe Smith finished up. Keuchel has been the losing pitcher in two of the three Houston losses so far although his run support has been very weak.

The Astros have also sent reliever Tony Sipp to the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with soreness in his right oblique. The ballclub recalled righthanded reliever James Hoyt who began the year on the disabled list then was sent down to AAA Fresno. The move leaves the Astros without a lefty in the bullpen.

The rubber game of the series will be a luncheon special starting at 12:10 pm Central. Lance McCullers (1-1) will tackle the elements against Kyle Gibson (1-0) who sports an 0.87 ERA on the young season. An off-day follows on Thursday while players check for frostbite before beginning a three-game homestand against the Rangers.

- Bob Hulsey