HOUSTON — The Minnesota Twins were the first team in over a year and a half to beat Dallas Keuchel in Houston, and they did it with patience.
Brian Dozier broke out of a slump with three hits and the Twins snapped Keuchel’s 17-game home winning streak with a 6-2 victory on Monday night.
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Keuchel (2-4) allowed five runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings and struggled with his command for the third time this season, walking five. The Cy Young winner hadn’t lost at home since Aug. 10, 2014, against Texas.
"First three innings I was really good, last inning and a half wasn’t very good," Keuchel said. "I have to rely on attacking the zone early, establishing the strike zone and making sure guys know I’m on the plate and they can’t rely on the umpire to call balls."
Dozier snapped a 0-for-16 slump with a double in the first and singled to start the three-run fourth against Keuchel, which was aided by four walks, as the Twins ended a four-game losing streak.
"We were patient with him," Dozier said. "He tried to nibble, but we made him throw it over and got a few walks. A few walks with the bases loaded. We were patient and got some timely hits."
Jose Berrios (1-1) earned his first career win, giving up two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings in his second major league start. Berrios was tagged for five runs in four innings in his first start.
"I went out there and threw the ball and my team won," Berrios said. "I’m happy with that."
Eduardo Escobar hit an RBI single, Eddie Rosario added a sacrifice fly and Eduardo Nunez drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Nunez hit his first homer of the year in the sixth.
Byung Ho Park had two hits, including a two-run triple in the fifth to extend Minnesota’s lead to 5-1.
"I guess on paper with Keuchel pitching at home and us having a guy making his second start in the big leagues, it probably didn’t look very good on paper," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "But we made that guy work, made him throw a lot of pitches and found a way to put some runs on the board."
Preston Tucker and George Springer each hit solo home runs for Houston, which has not won consecutive games this season.
The outing was Keuchel’s shortest since going 3 1/3 innings at Oakland on Sept. 6, 2013, as the left-hander walked four or more batters for the third time in six outings this season. Keuchel has given up 16 runs over 16 1/3 innings in his last three starts.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (lower back strain) will pitch a simulated game of 30-40 pitches Tuesday and if everything goes well, he could be back in the rotation Saturday, Molitor said.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) threw 4 2/3 innings in an extended spring training game Monday. McCullers will throw a bullpen later in the week and should go for a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno on Saturday at El Paso, manager A.J. Hinch said. … OF Carlos Gomez (left rib cage soreness) was out of the lineup for a third straight game Monday but participated in baseball activities. Hinch said he was hopeful to get Gomez in a game during the Twins’ series, and he should miss the disabled list.
Minnesota catcher John Ryan Murphy was ejected by home plate umpire Jerry Layne in the bottom of the fifth inning for what appeared to be arguing balls and strikes. After a pitch on the inside part of the plate was called a ball, Murphy turned back to Layne and appeared to say something and was immediately tossed. Kurt Suzuki replaced Murphy.
PLOUFFE TO RETURN
The Twins will activate 3B Trevor Plouffe from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday’s game. Plouffe has been on the DL with a strained right intercostal muscle. To make room for Plouffe, the Twins optioned IF Jorge Polanco to Triple-A Rochester.
Twins: RHP Alex Meyer (0-0) will make his first career start Tuesday in the second game of the three-game series. Meyer has allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in relief, but for Triple-A Rochester, he went 1-1 with a 1.04 ERA in three appearances, including two starts.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (2-3) will look for a second consecutive good start Tuesday against the Twins. McHugh allowed two runs over five innings to earn the win Wednesday in Seattle.