Twins fall 6-4 to Astros in Meyer's first MLB start
HOUSTON -- Alex Meyer's first career start was going well through the first two innings.
The third inning started poorly and things snowballed from there for the right-hander.
Jason Castro and George Springer hit homers and the Houston Astros held on for a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Meyer lasted just 2 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and three hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
"The biggest thing was just not being able to locate my breaking ball in that third inning," Meyer said. "That just opened things up for them."
Castro hit his first homer of the year to lead off the three-run third inning, and Springer hit a shot that bounced off the railroad tracks in left field and out of the stadium to cap the three-run fourth.
Castro's home run was knocked down by a fan and never made it over the wall into the Crawford Boxes, but it was called a homer, and after a lengthy review, it was confirmed.
Jose Altuve and Springer walked after Castro's blast before Carlos Correa knocked an RBI double and Alex Meyer (0-1) uncorked a wild pitch to score Springer and give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
Meyer, who was 1-1 with a 1.04 ERA with Triple-A Rochester in three starts this season, said he wouldn't use the replay delay as an excuse for the way the third inning unraveled.
"I gave up a leadoff home run, then walked a guy and started pressing a little bit," Meyer said.
Carlos Gomez, who was out of the lineup the last three games with a sore rib cage, had two doubles and scored on a balk by Tommy Milone to make it 4-2 before Springer's sixth home run of the year.
Danny Santana led off the game with a home run off the right field foul pole. It was his third career leadoff homer but first since July 31, 2014. Byung Ho Park hit an opposite-field upper deck solo home run in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-4.
Joe Mauer extended the Twins' lead to 2-0 with an RBI groundout in the third. Brian Dozier had an RBI single in the fifth.
"We got off to a good start, but we didn't capitalize in that first inning and only got one," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We did some good things but missed some chances. We couldn't get back in the game, but the bullpen did a nice job."
Following the game, Meyer was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, with right-hander J.R. Graham joining the team Wednesday.
"Obviously, I would love to stay up here, but it's really not up to me," Meyer said. "The first two innings felt good, and I felt like I proved to myself that I could pitch up here. That was a positive thing for me, it's something to remember, and I'll just go from there."
Collin McHugh (3-3) gave up four runs and seven hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander won his second straight start after losing three of his first four outings.
Houston's bullpen pitched 3 1-3 hitless innings, capped by Luke Gregerson's perfect ninth that earned him his sixth save.
Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe (right intercostal strain) was activated from the 15-day DL before the game and started. He went 0 for 4. ... RHP Ervin Santana (lower back strain) threw a 30-pitch simulated game Tuesday. Santana looked good and would likely come off the DL and start Saturday, Molitor said, adding that Santana would likely be on a pitch count for the start.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) will throw a bullpen Wednesday and should go out on a rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Fresno at El Paso, manager A.J. Hinch said. ... C Max Stassi (left wrist surgery) began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Fresno.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (1-4) will look to rebound from his last start where he was tagged for four runs in five innings when he takes the mound Wednesday in the finale of the series.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1) will try to put another good start together Wednesday after allowing two runs in seven innings Friday.
Springer homered in his second straight game, marking the sixth time in his career he has done that. . Mauer walked in the first and has reached base safely in all 27 games this season, which marks the longest streak in the majors to start 2016.