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Mancini 3-run HR, Astros send Twins to 6th straight loss


AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) — Trey Mancini homered for a second straight game, a three-run shot that led the Houston Astros to a 6-3 win and a three-game sweep of the slumping Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Mancini, who hit a two-run homer Wednesday, has six home runs and 16 RBIs in 18 games since being traded from the Orioles.

“That’s why he’s batting where he’s batting, because I was hoping he’d have some runners on in front of him,” manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s why I hit (Christian) Vazquez ahead of him, because he gets on base and has been getting base hits. But that was huge.”

The Twins have lost a season-high six games and finished 0-6 against the AL West-leading Astros this season.

“We’ve got to go out there and play that complete baseball that we’ve been talking about,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The glimpses of things, you’d rather see that than some of the things that we’ve seen lately. But we need to put it together.”

The game was tied at 1 in the first when Mancini connected off Chris Archer (2-7) on his shot to the seats in left field.

“If I could have executed one or two pitches it would have been a lot different,” Archer said. “So, yeah, I’m disappointed, for sure.”

Jeremy Peña hit an RBI double with two outs in the Houston eighth to make it 6-3.

Luis Garcia (11-8) yielded five hits and three runs with five strikeouts in five innings for his third straight win. Rafael Montero struck out one in a scoreless ninth for his eighth save.

“That was the best bullpen night we’ve had in a while,” Baker said. “It was relatively clean, guys had clean innings. I don’t think we had many walks. Vazquez directed them through the game very good; that was an outstanding job by him.”

Carlos Correa had a forgettable series in his first games against Houston since leaving the Astros after seven seasons to sign with the Twins. He went 0 for 4 Thursday night to end the series 1 for 11.

Jorge Polanco gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead with his homer to right field with two outs in the first inning.

Jose Altuve hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning and Yuli Gurriel had an infield single. Yordan Alvarez then grounded into a double play that scored Altuve to tie it at 1.

Alex Bregman and Vazquez hit consecutive singles before Mancini’s homer gave the Astros the lead.

Nick Gordon tripled to start the second and scored on a wild pitch by Garcia to cut it to 4-2.

Bregman doubled with one out in the third and the Astros extended the lead to 5-2 on an RBI single by Vazquez.

Gary Sanchez doubled before advancing to third on a single by Gilberto Celestino with no outs in the fifth. A sacrifice fly by Luis Arráez sent Sanchez home to get Minnesota within 5-3.

Archer allowed eight hits and five runs in four innings.


Twins: In the wake of the injury to OF Byron Buxton, Minnesota signed speedy OF Billy Hamilton to a minor league contract Thursday. Hamilton had seven stolen bases in just 20 games with the Marlins this season and has 321 in his 10-year career.

Astros: Placed closer Ryan Pressly on the injured list with neck spasms Thursday, retroactive to Monday. … RHP Seth Martinez was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot on the roster. … OF Chas McCormick is likely to miss a couple of games after dislocating his right pinkie Wednesday night. … OF Kyle Tucker missed the game with a sore left foot.


Twins: Joe Ryan (9-6, 3.86 ERA) will start the opener of a series against San Francisco on Friday night against Alex Wood (8-10, 4.54).

Astros: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 2.45) will oppose Baltimore’s Kyle Bradish (1-5, 6.25) Friday night in the first of three games against the Orioles.


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