Astros-Twins game postponed by rain on umbrella night
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros were given a welcomed do-over.
The Minnesota Twins had their strong start washed away.
The Astros-Twins game was postponed Wednesday night by rain that came in the top of the third inning and never quit, and Major League Baseball finally made the decision after a 2 1/2-hour delay.
The game will be reset Thursday night as the second half of a doubleheader, following the regularly scheduled afternoon game. That means the 5-0 lead the Twins took off Keuchel, including Brian Dozier's leadoff home run, has been erased.
''You get off to a good start against a good pitcher and you've got your best guy out there and you've just got to wipe it off the slate,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said, with a hint of weariness in his voice. ''Unfortunate. Good for them.''
After the Twins tagged the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner with four runs in the second, sending 10 batters to the plate as dark clouds rolled in and lightning flashed in the distance, the skies opened up and the fans hurried for cover.
Twins starter Ervin Santana left the mound with a disappointed look with one out and a big lead in the third as the umpires waved the players off the field and the grounds crew hustled to retrieve the tarp. White umbrellas, designed to look like baseballs, were conveniently given away to the first 10,000 customers who entered.
''You never know how it's going to end, but we'll take the restart,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
The Astros, who began the day four games behind in the crowded AL wild card race, have gone 41-27 since May 22. That's the third-best record in the major leagues since then. Part of the problem during the slow start was Keuchel, who is a mere 7-11 with a 4.56 ERA this season.
He was coming off a three-hit shutout of division-leading Texas in his last turn, another sign he was getting back in a groove.
''Felt good. Felt like it was an extension of the last start. Next thing I know, there's five runs on the board,'' Keuchel said. ''So that's disappointing.''
Dozier hit what would have been his 24th home run of the season. Then the Astros let Keuchel down with errors by third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Carlos Correa, leading to two unearned runs.
''I'll take this mulligan and hopefully come back next start hot,'' Keuchel said.
Astros RHP Chris Devenski will move from the bullpen to start the makeup game. LHP Kevin Chapman will be recalled from Triple-A Fresno as the 26th player for the night.
LHP Tommy Milone, who was recently moved into relief after making 11 starts earlier this season, will take the mound for the Twins. LHP Andrew Albers will be brought up from Triple-A Rochester as the 26th player.
Astros: RHP Luke Gregerson, who started the season as the closer, threw an aggressive bullpen session without trouble for his strained left oblique muscle. He's eligible Friday to come off the DL, but Hinch said the decision has not yet been made. The team could have Gregerson throw again before activating him.
Twins: RHP Trevor May was placed on the DL before the game with a lower back strain, an aggravation of an injury that cost him 23 games earlier in the season. May, who has a 4.89 ERA in 42 1-3 innings and leads relievers with 59 strikeouts, will see a specialist Thursday for further evaluation.
Twins rookie RHP J.T. Chargois, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to fill in for May, has returned for redemption with his 67.50 ERA. In his major league debut June 11 against Boston, Chargois gave up five runs while recording only two outs.
Chargois, who was picked for the All-Star Futures Game, had a 1.29 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 35 innings for Rochester.
''I wanted to pick up where I left off,'' he said. ''I wanted to prove that was a mistake.''
The Astros will send RHP Doug Fister (10-7, 3.47 ERA) to the mound for the first game Thursday. He has allowed only one run over 12 innings in two August starts. Rookie RHP Jose Berrios (2-2, 8.31 ERA) will pitch the first game for the Twins, his third turn since being called up for his second stint in the majors.