Verlander dominates over 7 innings, Astros beat Twins 2-0
By Brian Hall
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Justin Verlander struck out nine over seven dominant innings, Carlos Correa had two hits and scored twice and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 on Monday night.
Verlander (2-0) was in control throughout on a chilly night with a first-pitch temperature of 35 degrees. The right-hander gave up three hits and walked one while helping the reigning World Series champions match their best 11-game start by going 9-2.
Verlander improved to 11-1 in 14 games, including the playoffs, since being traded to Houston last season.
Ken Giles earned his first save of the season by getting Byron Buxton to ground out with a runner on third in the ninth.
Twins reliever Taylor Rogers (1-1) allowed a leadoff double to Correa in the sixth after coming in for starter Lance Lynn. Correa scored from third on rookie J.D. Davis’ liner to left field off reliever Trevor Hildenberger.
Davis entered the night 1 for 14 and drove in his first RBI of the season. Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI double in the eighth.
The cold night was all about the two starters, though.
Verlander allowed a one-out double in the first to Joe Mauer and then retired eight in a row before walking Mauer to lead off the fourth.
Verlander faced runners at the corners with no outs in the sixth after Brian Dozier’s swinging bunt, but he struck out Mauer and Miguel Sano before getting Eddie Rosario to pop out.
In eight regular season starts with Houston, Verlander is 7-0 with a 1.20 ERA.
Lynn pitched five scoreless innings in his first start at Target Field but departed early because of a rising pitch count. After walking six batters in his first outing of the year, Lynn walked four Monday to go with nine strikeouts on 105 pitches.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the eighth, but Eddie Rosario grounded into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch from reliever Chris Devenski.
Astros: OF Josh Reddick was held out with an illness. … Yuli Gurriel (left hand surgery) was expected to play first and third base in a rehab game at Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday, and he’s set to be the designated hitter there Wednesday.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (finger surgery) will be back in Minnesota on Tuesday to meet with team doctors. Manager Paul Molitor said he’s heard Santana wants to see if he can get approval to do more in his rehab.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 3.27 ERA) will make his third start of the season in Tuesday’s evening contest. Keuchel gave up two runs — one earned — in five innings his last start against Baltimore.
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 2.51) will make his first start at Target Field as a member of the Twins. Odorizzi, who made three starts at the park with Tampa Bay, gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings at Pittsburgh last week.