HOUSTON – After talking his way into the lineup, Eddie Rosario performed a medley of his greatest hits Tuesday — hit another homer, broke another record, threw another runner out, talked about being humbled to be mentioned with some of the franchise’s all-time greats. But even Rosario can’t do enough when the pitching springs a leak.
The Astros assembled nine hits, three walks and a couple of Twins fielding mistakes into three multi-run innings in their last four turns at bat, and shredded the Twins’ four-game winning streak with a 10-4 victory at Minute Maid Park.
Alex Bregman twice drove in a tiebreaking run for Houston, and Jose Altuve put the game out of reach with a majestic home run off the glass walls above the left-field fence, making Rosario’s historic night bittersweet. Michael Pineda was worn down by an Astros offense that put the leadoff man on base in six of its eight innings, finally surrendering four runs over 5⅓ innings to raise his ERA to 5.63. And the bullpen had its problems, too: Trevor Hildenberger gave up a pair of runs while getting two outs, and Duffey made an error to extend an inning, then gave up Altuve’s game-over, three-run blast.
“It might have been a little different from a typical game earlier on, where we probably had some more rest,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But we want our guys to go out there and pitch, and we believe they’re going to be able to get the job done. We’re going to rely on these guys.”
They certainly can rely on Rosario for stellar play these days. With Wade Miley on the mound, the first lefthanded starter the Twins have faced all season, Baldelli initially thought about giving Rosario a day off. But the left fielder talked him out of it.
“He basically explained that he would really like to play,” Baldelli said. “It’s not always going to work like that, where he ends up back in the lineup, but he did. He wanted to play and he went out there and did it again for us.”
It’s so routine now, it’s unprecedented. With two runners on in the first inning, Rosario reached out and poked a long fly ball the opposite way in the first inning, and it carried into the Crawford Boxes.
It was Rosario’s sixth home run in seven days, and his 10th in the season’s first 21 games, making him the fastest Twins player ever to reach double digits. Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett hit his 10th home run in the 23rd game of the 1986 season, a franchise record that was no match for the hottest start of Rosario’s career.
“I’m really proud for myself. The first time a Twins player has 10 homers before May — I feel proud,” Rosario said. “It’s good for me to break a couple of records for the organization. I want to put my name there.”
But the Twins’ road trip has been a showcase for more than just Rosario’s offense. In the fifth inning, the left fielder hustled to the corner and grabbed Bregman’s liner as it bounced off the scoreboard, then wheeled and fired it to second base in time to throw him out. That marked the third time on this trip that Rosario had contributed to an out on the bases, and his four outfield assists place him third in the AL.
Bregman’s hit, however, drove home two runs, the most crucial hit in Houston’s comeback from the early deficit that Rosario’s opposite-field homer had built. And the Astros only ran it up from there, turning a single and two walks off Hildenberger into two runs, with Bregman’s sacrifice fly breaking a 4-4 tie, and Michael Brantley’s single off Adalberto Mejia scoring another. Then Houston took advantage of two errors, a passed ball and Duffey’s mistake to Altuve to tack on four more in the eighth.