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Jorge Polanco slugs two homers as Minnesota Twins slay Houston Astros

Aug 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons (9) and Houston Astros designated hitter Michael Brantley (23) react after a collision at second base during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons (9) and Houston Astros designated hitter Michael Brantley (23) react after a collision at second base during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Polanco slugged a pair of home runs and the Minnesota Twins secured their first road series victory against the Houston Astros in seven years with a 7-5 win Sunday.

The Twins capped their season-long nine-game road trip by taking three of four against the Astros, who have dropped six of eight. Minnesota improved to 5-10-5 in road series, won the season series against the Astros 4-3, and claimed its first series at Minute Maid Park since Aug 11-13, 2014.

Polanco smacked his 19th and 20th homers in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. His solo shot in the fifth came off Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (9-3) and extended the Twins’ lead to 4-2. After the Astros sliced that deficit in half with a Yordan Alvarez RBI single in the bottom of that frame, Polanco hit a three-run homer off Astros reliever Phil Maton in the sixth.

Polanco went the opposite way off McCullers with a 350-foot shot that landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field. His blast against Maton was more prodigious: a 388-foot shot to right-center off a 1-2 curveball that drove home Max Kepler and Brent Rooker and extended the lead to 7-3.

McCullers, coming off a splendid outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers during which he tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, labored throughout before departing with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. He coughed up a 1-0 lead when he surrendered a two-out triple to Jake Cave and a run-scoring single to Trevor Larnach in the second, and then fell behind 3-1 when Miguel Sano crushed a two-run, 405-foot homer to left-center field with no outs in the fourth.

McCullers allowed four runs for the third time in four starts with eight hits, three walks and four strikeouts on his ledger. His counterpart for the Twins, right-hander Kenta Maeda, was solid.

Maeda (5-4) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five innings as Houston failed to produce an extended rally by grounding into three double plays while stranding seven baserunners total. Alex Colome worked the ninth and recorded his fifth save.

Carlos Correa smacked his 18th homer in the eighth, the 18th straight game in which Houston has homered. Astros designated hitter Michael Brantley departed for precautionary reasons after taking a blow to the head colliding with Polanco at second base in the bottom of the first.

–Field Level Media