Astros-Twins Preview


The Houston Astros haven't lost a series since the middle of May and will turn to a streaking pitcher to keep that stretch going.

Making it five straight series with at least a split will require beating the Twins Sunday in Minnesota as the teams conclude a three-game set.

The Astros (27-36) had their six-game road winning streak snapped by the Twins (29-31) in Saturday's 8-0 loss. They were shut out for the second time in four games, though they've still won 10 of 14 and have Collin McHugh pegged to keep it going.

"This is just one of those games you put in the rear end and come back tomorrow and win the series," manager Bo Porter said.

McHugh (4-3, 2.52 ERA) is trying for a career-best third straight win, and the right-hander has made things rather easy on the Astros in his last two, allowing seven hits while striking out 13 over 12 scoreless innings.

His five scoreless in Tuesday's 7-2 victory made it 13 straight innings without allowing a run, though he wasn't happy with himself for lasting only five after making it through seven in his previous two starts.

"I'm not trying to go five innings every game, so for me, coming out after five, I was kind of disappointed," McHugh told the team's official website.

He has never faced Minnesota, though Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is 1 for 2 with a home run against McHugh.

He'll be opposed by Samuel Deduno.

Deduno (2-3, 3.83) is also coming off a win but he struggled a bit more, allowing two runs and six hits while walking four in five innings of Tuesday's 6-4 victory in Milwaukee. The right-hander has an even strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last three starts with eight of each while also being hit at a .306 clip.

Control issues also crept up in his only career start against Houston. On Aug. 2 of last season, he surrendered two runs and four hits with five walks in six innings without factoring into the decision.

Minnesota has won six of eight against Houston since the start of last season, the latest victory highlighted by Danny Santana's 4-for-5 game. The rookie center fielder, who doubled his season total with five RBIs, is batting .424 in his last eight games.

"He's taking his swings," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He doesn't know these pitchers so he's making some adjustments. He sees the breaking ball the first time and then he's ready for it the next time."

The hot hitting has helped with right fielder Oswaldo Arcia only available for pinch-hitting duties the last two games due to a sprained ankle.

"You lose a guy like Arcia in the lineup and you think, 'Where's it going to happen now?'" Gardenhire said. "But somebody else just has to pick up the slack."

Houston's Jose Altuve, who went 1 for 4 with a double Saturday, is batting .362 while hitting safely in 27 of his last 29 games.

Center fielder Dexter Fowler went 2 for 2 before being replaced. He's 9 for 16 in his last five games.

Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar has missed four straight games after getting hit in the right elbow Tuesday.