ALDS Game 2 - Twins Beat Astros 6-2: Four Thoughts

Carlos Correa came back with a vengeance.
Carlos Correa came back with a vengeance. Photo by Jack Gorman
The Twins tied up the American League Division Series with the Astros 1-1 after beating them in Houston Sunday night 6-2. Framber Valdez lasted only four-and-one-third innings while Minnesota starter Pablo Lopez mowed down the Houston lineup. The Astros managed two runs in the eighth off the Minnesota bullpen on an opposite field homer from Yordan Alvarez, his third of the series, that scored Alex Bregman. But, it wasn't nearly enough. It was the Astros first loss in the division series at home over the last six years.

The best-of-five series now shifts back to Minnesota where the Astros will have to win at least one if they want to return to Houston again this postseason. Let's dig in with four thoughts.

Carlos Correa revenge game.

Kyle Farmer got the first postseason hit of his career (a homer) but it was the former Astros shortstop who rallied his team offensively and emotionally to the win. Correa had three RBIs (He is now third all-time in postseason RBIs, most of those coming with his former ballclub.) and was clearly his team's emotional leader. He went 3-4 with a walk on the night as boos rained down from the Minute Maid faithful. He even had the final putout of the game on a great play at short. This was personal for him against his old team.

A tale of two pitchers.

Since Framber Valdez pitched a no hitter back on August 1, he has been a very up and down pitcher. Unfortunately, that down part showed up Sunday night as he barely made it through four innings giving up five runs on 90 total pitches. Meanwhile, Pablo Lopez was everything the Twins hoped he would be when they traded for him and gave him an extension. He went seven shutout innings giving up six hits and one walk with six strikeouts. He was absolutely dominant.

Who controls the roof?

While the Astros — much like the Texans — rarely open the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park (why did we pay for the retractable roof again?) it was open on Sunday. According to Astros manager Dusty Baker, Major League Baseball asked that the roof be opened, no doubt for more dramatic shots of the field and downtown. While many fans have clamored for more open roof nights, especially when it's in the low 70s, the Astros have typically kept it closed to control the weather and to amp up the crowd volume. We're guessing even a closed roof wouldn't have helped the Astros on Sunday.

Space City Home Network postgame is worth the channel switch.

For years, one of the biggest drawbacks of watching playoff baseball (besides the hideous national announcers) was the lack of substantive local coverage. Enter Space City Home Network, the new regional sports network purchased by the Astros and Rockets. Now, instead of relying on MLB Network or Fox for postgame commentary, Astros fans can watch Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum, Julia Morales, Mike Stanton and other Astros announcers and analysts. For the broadcast, we recommend Astros radio with Robert Ford and Steve Sparks.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke