MLB

Twins-Astros Preview

Almost a month into their season, the Houston Astros are still looking to win back-to-back games.

Perhaps it will finally happen Wednesday night in the decisive series finale against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

It seems hard to believe that a Houston club saddled with lofty expectations is the only one in the majors yet to win two games in a row. Then again, the Astros (9-18) rank near the bottom of baseball with a .225 batting average and a 4.82 ERA.

They have won just one series, taking two of three from Detroit at home April 15-17.

Houston, though, overcame an early two-run hole by scoring three times each in the third and fourth innings of Tuesday's 6-4 victory. George Springer hit his sixth home run and Carlos Gomez doubled twice for the Astros, who scored two more runs than from their previous three combined.

''We've been able to not quit and at least stay in games and come back in some,'' Springer said. ''That's a good sign. Obviously, stuff hasn't been ideal for us, but it's a long year. Slow grind.''

Springer, who homered both Monday and Tuesday, is batting .362 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 12 home games this season.

Teammate Mike Fiers (2-1, 4.97 ERA) looks to build on his longest outing of the young season after allowing a two-run homer in the second of seven innings he lasted in Oakland on Friday while not earning a decision in the 7-4 loss.

"It was big for me," Fiers told MLB's official website of the effort.

Pitching for Milwaukee and Houston, the right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts against the Twins in 2015.

Danny Santana went 0 for 3 with a walk against Fiers last season, but homered for one of his two hits as the Twins (8-19) fell to 2-11 on the road Tuesday.

''We got off to a good start, but we didn't capitalize in that first inning and only got one,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''We did some good things but missed some chances. We couldn't get back in the game.''

Teammate Brian Dozier is 5 for 8 in the series after going 0 for 16 in the previous four contests. Molitor credits some recent work Dozier put in with hitting coach and former Twins star Tom Brunansky for the turn around.

"He's done a few things with Bruno the last couple days to create more consistent contact," Molitor said. "He's more confident about it. He's one of those rare guys who can turn around the best fastballs in the game."

After opening the season with four consecutive quality starts, Phil Hughes (1-4, 4.45) gave up four runs - three in the first inning - and seven hits over five in Friday's 9-2 loss to Detroit.

The right-hander last faced Houston in 2014.

Springer's one hit in three at-bats against Hughes left the park. Colby Rasmus also homered for his only hit in 14 at-bats against him.

After missing the previous three games with a rib injury, Gomez returned Tuesday. The ex-Twin is batting .365 with eight doubles in his last 13 games against his former team.

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