Yordan Alvarez became the fastest to 50 career home runs in club history while rookie right-hander Luis Garcia twirled six scoreless innings as the Houston Astros beat the visiting Minnesota Twins 4-0 Saturday.
Garcia (8-6) allowed only two hits while cruising to his first victory since he tossed six scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians on July 20. He struck out the side in the second inning and fanned two batters in both the third and fifth, generating 18 swings and misses on the night.
Alvarez doubled the Astros’ 1-0 lead with his leadoff blast off Twins right-hander Michael Pineda in the bottom of the fourth. Alvarez drilled a 427-foot laser to straightaway center field for his 22nd homer on the season and 50th in 184 career games. Lance Berkman, who was inducted into the Astros’ Hall of Fame earlier Saturday, needed 231 games to reach 50 career homers.
The Astros strung together three consecutive hits off Pineda (4-7) to open the second and grab that 1-0 lead. Chas McCormick followed singles from Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Diaz with an infield hit that handcuffed shortstop Andrelton Simmons and allowed Tucker to score from third.
Diaz added a two-out, two-run double in the eighth that provided the Astros some insurance.
Pineda was sharp otherwise, allowing seven hits while posting three strikeouts over six innings.
Garcia struggled scuffled over his previous two starts, allowing a combined 11 runs (10 earned) on 14 hits and three walks over 9 1/3 innings. But he was strong against the Twins from the outset, retiring the side in order on eight pitches in the first inning and facing the minimum through three.
It wasn’t until Brent Rooker roped a double to left with one out in the fourth that the Twins had their first runner. Garcia stranded Rooker at second and did the same to Ryan Jeffers in the fifth when Jeffers also doubled to left with one out. Garcia retired the final five batters he faced without incident and completed his ledger with eight strikeouts without issuing a walk.
Garcia threw 85 pitches, 58 for strikes, in his second scoreless start of at least six innings. Right-handed relievers Ryne Stanek, Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly completed the shutout while allowing two singles and combining for three strikeouts.
–Field Level Media