Arcia’s HR lifts Twins over Astros
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins had only five hits on Sunday, but two of them were home runs, helping the Twins beat the Houston Astros 3-2 at Target Field for a series sweep.
The Twins’ homers spoiled an otherwise good performance by Astros starting pitcher Brad Peacock.
Peacock, who was recalled from the minors for the game, had a rough first inning, giving up a two-run homer to Justin Morneau. But Peacock settled down and pitched five shutout innings.
Peacock threw 117 pitches in seven innings, giving up three runs, four hits and two walks. He also had a career-high 10 strikeouts in the game, but the two home runs ended up hurting him.
The first homer came in the first inning after Peacock walked Joe Mauer, who scored on Morneau’s two-out blast over the right field wall. It was Morneau’s 10th home run of the season and make it 2-0.
With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh, Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo shot that just crawled over the center field fence. It was his seventh homer of the year and put the Twins back in the lead for good.
“A big one there; he was really excited,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Arcia’s homer. “(He was) banging some hands in the dugout. It was the fastest home run trot he has ever had. We needed that in a tie ball game.”
Coming off his worst outing in nearly two months, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey labored through five innings. He threw 104 pitches and gave up seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
“Pelf had his struggles again,” Gardenhire said. “There were too many pitches again. It seems like he gets ahead of every hitter and it goes to 3-2 and the game drags a little bit. And he knows it more than anybody. He’s trying to pick up the pace. It’s not so much how fast you throw the pitches and how many pitches. It just the 3-2 counts make the game drag.”
Pelfrey allowed base runners in each of his five innings, and it finally caught up to him in the fifth. Hot-hitting Robbie Grossman (2-for-5) singled to center, followed by a walk to Jason Castro. With two outs, Brett Wallace singled to center, scoring Grossman, and Chris Carter knocked in Castro with a single to left to tie the score 2-2.
The Twins’ stout bullpen, which has given up just one earned run in its last 20 innings, took over for Pelfrey and allowed the team to hang around until the seventh when Arcia put them ahead.
“The bullpen was really good; they came along and picked us up,” Gardenhire said. “Our bullpen (pitchers) were saviors through this whole (series). And (Glen) Perkins at the end is always a good feeling when you get to go to him.”
Josh Roenicke gave up one hit in his 1 1/3 innings, and Caleb Thielbar walked two but got out of the sixth to collect the win. Jarod Burton shut down the Astros in the eighth and Perkins closed down the Astros in the ninth for his 27th save.
“Their bullpen did a tremendous job all three games,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “If you look at the outcome you pretty much can say their bullpen sealed the deal each and every time they had the opportunity to come in and shut us down. Their bullpen did a good job all three games.”
Notes: Brian Dozier had his career-high 10-game hitting streak halted. It was tied for the fourth longest streak on the club this year. ... Peacock was recalled for the game and made his first start ever against the Twins. ... The Twins are 14-9 all-time against Houston, going 10-4 in their last 14 games against the Astros.