In a season where so much has been made about the Astros being not able to hit, it was a walk that gave them the edge in the end of the season games.
Jose Altuve drew a two-out, bases-stacked stroll in the ninth inning to help lift the Astros over the Twins 4-1 in Game 1 of their season finisher series Tuesday at Target Field.
The Astros got a respite with a colossal Twins handling faux pas in the ninth.
The Astros had sprinters from the outset and second with two outs in the ninth when George Springer hit a ground ball to Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco that ought to have finished the inning. Rather, Polanco made a deviant toss to a respectable halfway point, permitting everybody to reach securely and set up Altuve’s sensational at bat.
After Altuve’s walk, Michael Brantley conveyed a two-run single to give some pad.
The Astros got a solid pitching trip from Zack Greinke and Framber Valdez.
Greinke got off to an unpleasant beginning, driving the bases in the primary inning, yet he settled down and permitted one sudden spike in demand for only two hits in four innings.
The run he surrendered came when Nelson Cruz conveyed a two-out twofold that took an unusual jump off the right-field divider and ricocheted back over the head of Josh Reddick. Carlos Correa’s hand-off toss home almost cut down the sprinter at the plate, however Max Kepler barely beat the toss.
After only four innings and 79 pitches, Greinke was pulled for Valdez, who seemingly was the Astros’ best beginning pitcher in the standard season.
Valdez experienced difficulty finding the strike zone when he entered, strolling the initial two hitters he saw before settling down and tossing four innings of hitless help.
Valdez pitched the last five innings, blanking the Twins and surrendering only two hits in the last five casings.
The Astros tied things up in the seventh when Reddick, Martin Maldonado and George Springer conveyed three straight two-out singles. Reddick scored the tying run on Springer’s base it, however Maldonado was tossed out attempting to go from first to third.
The series resumes around early afternoon Wednesday.