The Astros matched their home run total from their previous 12 games by getting home runs from Evan Gattis, Carlos Correa and George Springer to cruise to a 10-2 win and a doubleheader sweep of the Twins on Thursday night at Target Field.
Houston, which beat the Twins, 15-7, in Game 1, has won three in a row after dropping 11 of their previous 14 games, including Monday's series opener. Thursday's second game was scheduled after Wednesday's game was rained out.
"This is the good version of us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The more selective we are, the better we are. We feed off of each other. There's no doubt when our big boys are producing, it takes a lot of pressure off the guys at the rest of the order and don't have to carry us."
Gattis clubbed a three-run homer in the second off Tommy Milone (3-4), Correa led off the third with a 446-foot shot to center field and Springer (3-for-4) added a two-run, opposite-field homer in the fourth to make it 7-0. Jose Altuve beat out an infield hit to extend his road on-base streak to 41 games. Milone left after three innings with tighness in his left shoulder.
Chris Devenski (1-4) picked up his first career win by throwing five scoreless innings in a spot start. He allowed only two hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out five. He threw 51 of his 71 pitches for strikes. Milone was rocked for five runs and five hits in three innings.
"We had to turn the page from last night, and it didn't turn out particularly well," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "Long day. Frustrating. I know the guys were trying. A couple of short outings from our starters taxed us fairly well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Astros getting offensive: After struggling to score any runs for two weeks, the Astros got them in bunches against the Twins. Thursday's outburst gave the Astros 25 runs scored in two games, which matched their total runs scored in their previous 11 games. They also bashed out 35 hits in the two games, and the three homers equaled their total from their previous 12 games.
"Things have changed," Springer said. "We were able to string together some hits. This is a long year. You're going to have stuff like that. We were able to swing ourselves out of it today and hopefully it can continue." More >
Albers returns: Left-hander Andrew Albers was called up from Triple-A Rochester to be Minnesota's 26th man for the nightcap of the doubleheader but found himself moved to the 25-man roster after Buddy Boshers was placed on the DL. Albers' first MLB appearance since May 1, 2015, was rocky at the start, as he allowed four runs, including a two-run homer to Springer, in his first two innings. But he settled down and preserved Minnesota's bullpen by pitching six innings to finish the game, allowing five runs (three earned) on 11 hits in a 108-pitch outing.
"I'm grateful that Albers was here," Molitor said. "What he did, you can't underscore enough. He came out, he got banged around a bit the first couple of innings, but he ended up throwing 108 pitches. He picked us up." More >
Devo gets in win column: The rookie right-hander has flourished in relief after not getting great results in four starts earlier this season, but he was terrific in a spot start. He gave up a double to Brian Dozier to start the first and then sent down 15 of the final 17 batters he faced, with a fourth-inning single by Miguel Sano the only other hit.
"He picked us big time by going through five innings," Hinch said. "He's so efficient when he's right. He got into the fifth inning relatively quickly." More >
Polanco extends streak: After going 2-for-4 in the first game of the doubleheader, Twins infielder Jorge Polanco extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the seventh inning off Houston left-hander Kevin Chapman and later added an infield single in the eighth. The streak is the second-longest active streak in the AL behind Cleveland's Jose Ramirez (15 games). He is slashing .388/.385/.531 since he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Albers became the 26th pitcher used by the Twins this season, a new team record. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Albers' 108 pitches are tied for the most in a relief appearance in Twins history. Oscar Munoz also threw 108 pitches in relief on Aug. 21, 1995.
"We kept checking in with him, and even after the eighth inning, I was tempted to get [reliever Ryan] Pressly in there, which I really didn't want to do," Molitor said. "But [Albers] said he was good. He said he was just starting to get loose."
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his second career start when the Astros open a three-game series against the Blue Jays at 6:07 p.m. CT Friday at Rogers Centre. Musgrove, who struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings in relief in his Aug. 2 debut, held the Rangers to one run and five hits in seven innings Sunday, but is looking for first win.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-6, 4.86 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Royals on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. It will be the first time he will face Kansas City this year, but he's 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.