Twins take one in Houston, return to Target Field with ALDS split 1-1

(ABC 6 News) – The Houston Astros went into Sunday night’s game with high hopes of putting the Twins behind two games in the American League Division Series.

Their former battery mate, Carlos Correa, had other plans.

It was the top of the fifth, the Twins managed to get the bases loaded with one out on two singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a walk to Twins designated hitter Royce Lewis.

Correa came to the plate in a situation that hasn’t been favorable to him this season. He’s only had a .231 batting average in 15 plate appearances this year.

Those numbers ceased to matter as Correa lined a single up the middle into centerfield, and busted the Twins’ lead to 5-0.

This was one of many moments that made Correa the key hitter behind a phenomenal start by Pablo Lopez.

The two led the Twins to a 6-2 victory against the defending World Series champs Sunday night.

Lopez has been the subject of some criticism from Twins fans as he was acquired via trade this off-season from the Miami Marlins in January.

Those criticisms went silent Sunday night as Lopez dominated the Astros through a full seven innings of work, struck out seven, and only walked one Astros batter on 105 pitches.

While the Astros did secure six hits, most came in the early innings. Lopez’s most dominant stretch in the game came in the later innings as he only allowed two hits from innings 5-7 and still topped out on 96-97 miles per hour on his fastball.

As Lopez worked to keep the Astros off the scoreboard, the Twins’ lineup did all they could to extend the score for their man on the mound.

Correa got the scoring going early with an RBI double that scored second baseman Jorge Polanco. Polanco had walked earlier in the top of the first.

The Twins extended the score further in the top of the second, as left-fielder Willi Castro led the inning with a single, and third baseman Kyle Farmer followed up with a home run to put the Twins’ score up 3-0.

Following the Twins’ electric top of the fifth, they would only tally on one more run in the seventh, with the bases loaded again.

Rookie Edouard Julien pinch-hit for Farmer. Julien added one more run to the Twins’ lead to make it 6-0 with an RBI single.

Before the game was all said and done, Correa ended the game with a phenomenal defensive play in the bottom of the ninth. The ball was hit at 107 miles per hour in his direction by his shortstop replacement in Houston, Jeremy Pena, and Correa silenced his old fans to give the Twins their first ALDS victory since 2004.

Festivities for ALDS Games 3 and 4 at Target Field

The Twins will resume play on Tuesday at 3:07 p.m. against the Astros at Target Field. Tickets for both games three and four have already been sold out per the Twins front office.

There will be multiple pre-game ceremonies before Tuesday’s game, including a ceremonial first pitch from former Twin and two-time American League Cy Young winner Johan Santana. The pitch will be caught by his former catcher and 2009 American League MVP, Joe Mauer.

A pregame lineup introduction for both teams will also take place before first pitch, along with a flyover during the national anthem.

Wednesday’s start time is still to be determined as the Twins and Astros will have their start time assigned following the results of Tuesday night’s match up between the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.

Two former Twins 1987 World Series champions, Gary Gaetti and Dan Gladden, will be throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

The Twins will continue to hand out free Homer Hankies to all fans in attendance at each gate for both games.