HOUSTON — Justin Verlander did what Justin Verlander does on Wednesday. And when that’s the case, it becomes awfully difficult to scrape together runs off the seven-time All-Star.
The Twins, though they boast one of the top offenses in the league, couldn’t do much against Verlander in a 7-1 loss in the series finale at Minute Maid Park.
Save for Jorge Polanco’s home solo home run in the fourth inning and a few scattered hits, the Twins (13-9) were unable to get much of anything going, spending most of the night striking out or flying up. Verlander recorded eight strikeouts in his eight-inning performance as he worked quickly through the Twins.
Against a performance like Verlander’s, starter Kohl Stewart, who was promoted on Wednesday to make the start, didn’t have much wiggle room. His spot start was necessitated by a Friday rain out in Baltimore, which pushed Jose Berrios back a day.
Stewart, a Houston native, gave the Twins what they needed in terms of eating innings, though he was unable to limit the Astros’ (15-9) high-octane offense in his six-inning effort.
Shortstop Carlos Correa gave the Astros a one-run lead in the second with a home run to right that clanked off the foul pole. Michael Brantley added a two-run blast of his own in the very next inning. Stewart gave up two more runs in his outing, which was more than enough run support for Verlander.