Tyler Duffey was great today. If you haven't had a chance to watch him yet this year and had your first opportunity today, you saw exactly what makes him so fun to see: that curveball. It's deceptive and tight, and Duffey can throw it wherever he likes, in any count, regardless of whether the batter is right-handed or left-handed. And for him to come up big in this kind of a game, against an Ace like Dallas Keuchel, it put his talent into perspective. Tyler Duffey could end up being pretty good.
Keuchel was on fire early, striking out five through the first three innings. Duffey matched that total. Brian Dozier led off the fourth with a home run, his 27th, and Eduardo Escobar followed up with his own solo shot an inning later to give the Twins a 2-0 advantage. Minnesota would threaten again in the top of the seventh by putting two on with nobody out, but Keuchel locked it down. He'd go eight strong for the Astros, striking out 12 and allowing just five hits. Three of them were solo home runs.
Before we get to that third solo jack, however, we have to talk about the bottom of the seventh. Duffey got Colby Rasmus to fly out to start the inning, and then sandwiched singles with a strikeout of Marwin Gonzalez. With two away and runners on first and second, Paul Molitor turned to trusty bullpen arm Trevor May.
Trevor didn't have it today. His night went walk-single-grand slam-single, and he was done. The big damage, that four-run homer, was a depressing dagger to the throat by Jed Lowrie. In the blink of an eye is was 5-2, and the subsequent single chased May. Two of the five runs allowed while he was on the hill were charged to Duffey. Casey Fien didn't start off any better by walking Evan Gattis, but did finally get that elusive third out.
Aaron Hicks turned the tide a bit by leading off the top of the eighth with a solo home run, his ninth of the year. But Minnesota couldn't mount a further rally that frame, which ended in Miguel Sano's fourth strikeout of the day. Neal Cotts came on for the bottom half, going walk-single-three run homer to Jake Marisnick. 8-3. Blaine Boyer would get those last two pesky outs of the eighth.
Bless the Twins, they didn't go away quietly. Trevor Plouffe singled and Torii Hunter doubled, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Escobar's sac fly brought the Twins to within four. Kurt Suzuki popped out, pushing Minnesota to their final out. Kennys Vargas pinch hit for Byron Buxton and singled, scoring Hunter and bringing the tying run into the on-deck circle. But Hicks would fly out to right field, ending the threat and the game.
The Twins go 1-2 in Houston over the weekend, getting blown out once and playing two games that could have gone either way. Today's game really got away in the late going, which is a rarity when guys like Trevor May are getting pounded. That's not the norm.
If there's good news today it's that the Rangers also lost. It's nice that Texas loses sometimes, but the Twins really need to start winning on those days. And still winning when the Rangers win. Minnesota starts a crucial set of games in Kansas City tomorrow night. Let's shake this one off and have some fun at Kaufman Stadium, shall we?
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