HOUSTON (CBS Radio) – The Astros routed the Twins, 16-4 on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season and only their second series so far in 2016.
After the fifth inning, both Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were a triple shy of the cycle. Jason Castro also homered for the second consecutive game. The Astros recorded 14 hits, matching their season high, and their 16 runs was their highest total so far this season after scoring eight in two of their other victories. They’re now 3-1 in May after going 7-17 in April.
“Of course I’d like to carry some of this mojo into tomorrow and the next series,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after Wednesday night’s win. “Getting a home series win is a good feeling. I think this team had a ton of energy today, even in the workout prior to the game. This team is a fun team and we’re starting to get a little positive vibe back.”
Altuve got the Astros on the board first with his fifth leadoff home run of the season, the ninth of his career. The last Astro with more than five leadoff home runs in a season was Craig Biggio in 2006 with six (he holds the team record for most leadoff homers in a season with eight, set in 2001). Altuve’s home run was his eighth of the season. George Springer followed with a walk and then Correa knocked him in with an RBI triple to the left field corner. Correa scored on a Colby Rasmus RBI ground out and Houston led 3-0 after the first inning.
The Astros (10-18) added a few more in the second off a Springer two-run double, scoring Castro and Altuve, and a Rasmus RBI single, breaking his 0-for-12 slump. Twins starter Phil Hughes was done after two and replaced by Casey Fien, who gave up a two-run home run to Castro. Correa added a solo shot in the fourth to increase Houston’s lead to 9-4. It was Correa’s fourth homer of the season and his first since April 6, the second game of the season.
“I was missing that jog around the bases, I’ll tell you that,” Correa said. “It’s been a while since I hit one, so it definitely felt great.”
The Astros’ scoring barrage continued in the fifth when Altuve knocked a two-run double and Correa an RBI single to push their lead to 12-4. Carlos Gomez added a two-run double to make it 14-4. Then Castro’s power bat continued in the eighth inning with a two-out, two-run double for a 16-4 lead.
“This was a nice outburst for our team,” Hinch said. “This is a fun lineup when we get going like this. I was so proud of our guys for not conceding any at-bats tonight. Just a really good night across the board. I think everybody contributed in some capacity, so it was a good night.”
Astros right-hander Mike Fiers retired the side in the first and but got into jams in each of the next four innings, but his only real damage coming off a Brian Dozier three-run shot in the third to put the Twins (8-20) on the board. After giving up a single and walking a batter in the fifth inning, he was relieved by Josh Fields with two outs. In 4 2/3 innings of work, Fiers allowed nine hits and four runs while issuing one walk and striking out four. In the team’s second win in a row, the bullpen tossed a shutout, including two scoreless innings from Scott Feldman, who was credited with his first win of the season.
Following the game, manager A.J. Hinch announced the Astros are optioning reliever Michael Feliz to Triple-A Fresno and recalling Jake Marisnick, who will start in left field on Thursday when they begin a four-game series with Seattle to give Colby Rasmus a night off.