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Michael Brantley had his second four-hit game of the series, running in four runs, and the Houston Astros had a season high of 20 hits, beating Minnesota 14-3 on Sunday to win two out of three of the Twins.
Minnesota’s Michael Pineda (3-4) went 1/3 innings after four innings due to a recurrence of right forearm pain that bothered him for the first time 1/3 innings in his last three starts.
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Kyle Tucker homered for the second game in a row and had three hits for the Astros, who also swept the Twins in last year’s wildcard playoff round. Yordan Álvarez and Chas McCormick homered.
Left-hander Framber Valdéz (3-0) won his third start in a row, allowing two runs – one well-deserved – and five hits in seven innings.
Houston went 7 for 21 with runners in the scoring position and won its fourth straight series, ending a 6-3 trip that included games against Boston and Toronto.
Minnesota has lost four of its last six games. Ryan Jeffers and Nelson Cruz homered for the twins.
Brantley had missed 12 games with sore right thigh muscles and hit base in 15 of 23 record appearances in five games since his return. He went 8 for 11 on the series with three doubles and two walks.
Alex Bregman’s sacrificial fly in the first inning gave Houston the lead to stay. Tucker took a 2-0 lead in the fourth game, Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice and Carlos Correa’s RBI doubles made it 4-0 in the fifth.
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Astros: C Jason Castro caught five innings during a rehab session with Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday. He took Saturday off and Houston’s manager Dusty Baker said he’ll be back playing on Sunday night. … C Martín Maldonado was absent on Sunday to give him two days off. Baker said he was dealing with tight hamstrings.
Twins: OV Max Kepler (left hamstring tribe) started a rehab mission on Sunday with Triple-A St. Paul as a designated hitter and was unsuccessful in his first four at-bats. … OF Byron Buxton (right hip load) and IF / OF Luis Arraez (right shoulder load) did not play in rehab games on Sunday, but recovered. Manager Rocco Baldelli said the two will join the team on the trip to Seattle.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will return from the injured list to start the series at home against Texas on Tuesday. McCullers has been sidelined with pain in his right shoulder since May 22nd. Baker said Jake Odorizzi will piggyback McCullers and the team will then switch to a six-man rotation. RHP Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13) is supposed to start for the Rangers.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.27) will return from the injured list for Minnesota on Monday when he starts in Seattle. Maeda had a right adductor strain and general right arm pain and was last erected on May 22nd. The Mariners are expected to launch LHP Marco Gonzales (1-4, 5:45).