The Twins lost the rubber game of their 3-game set in Houston on Wednesday night as they were shut down by the still-dominant Justin Verlander.
Remember when Verlander lost velocity in his early 30s and everyone thought he was on the down-swing? Yeah, me neither.
After not having made an All-Star team since his age-30 season in 2013, Verlander made the squad in 2018 and finished second in Cy Young Award voting. And now, after dominating the Twins to the tune of 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 8 K, and 0 BB, the former Detroit Tiger is now 4-0 on the season with a 2.61 ERA.
For their part, the Twins trotted out former first-round pick Kohl Stewart, who had mixed results in his first major-league action last season and a rough start to his Triple-A campaign so far this spring.
He was decent on Wednesday, managing to complete six innings but giving up five earned runs on eight hits and three walks with only one strikeout. Stewart’s control was a bit erratic, and outside of a tough breaking ball to right-handed batters, he struggled to fool Astros hitters.
That said, Stewart kept the Twins in the game until giving up two runs in the bottom of the fourth. And even then, Minnesota only trailed by a 5-1 margin until a two-run homer from Josh Reddick off of Fernando Romero in the bottom of the eighth broke things open.
Jorge Polanco hit a mammoth, upper-deck blast in the top of the fourth inning off of Verlander, but that was the only offense to speak of for the Twins.
- Four hits. That’s it. Four.
- Willians Astudillo had a nice opposite-field single against Verlander.
- Astudillo started in right field for the first time this year as Max Kepler slid over to center to give Byron Buxton his second night off of the season. Jonathan Schoop also took the evening off with Ehire Adrianza starting at second base.
- The Astros hit three home runs, two of which were absolute bombs. Reddick’s opposite field home run during the eighth-inning was similar to Eddie Rosario’s from Tuesday night, serving the ball into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
- Jorge Polanco: 1-for-4, HR, RBI, R
- Eddie Rosario: 1-for-3, BB
- Byron Buxton and Jonathan Schoop: They didn’t have to play in this one
- Twins’ offense: 4-for-31, 10 K, 1 BB, 1 R
- Kohl Stewart: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
- Fernando Romero: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 K