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High-scoring Twins go for series win over Astros

The Minnesota Twins were prepared for the arrival of the hottest team in baseball, the Houston Astros, for a three-game weekend series in Minneapolis.

How prepared? The Twins’ offensive approach produced 21 runs over the first two games of the series, including a 9-3 victory on Saturday that set the table for Sunday’s rubber match of the series.

The Astros had won 21 of 30 before the Twins pounded out 14 hits to take the middle game of the set.

“We knew what we were getting into in this series,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We know the team that we’re playing against. They’re playing very well. They’re swinging the bats great, about as good as any team you’re going to run into right now. And they’ve gotten hot without one of the best players in the game (Kyle Tucker), which is saying a lot.

“We knew it was going to be a challenging day.”

Right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson (3-1, 3.52 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Twins on Sunday. In his previous start, which came against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings but did not factor into the decision of a 5-3 win.

Woods Richardson is 1-0 with a 3.69 ERA and 32 strikeouts against 12 walks in 31 2/3 innings in six home starts this season.

His only previous start against the Astros came on June 2, Woods Richardson allowed three runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. The Twins won that game 4-3.

Rookie right-hander Spencer Arrighetti (4-7, 6.13 ERA) will start for the Astros, who will be closing out a 10-game road trip. He tied a season high by giving up seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts over four innings in a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

That game followed the best start of his career: seven shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies on June 26 when Arrighetti allowed three hits and recorded 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk. Arrighetti has allowed seven runs in a start three times this season.

Arrighetti will make his first career appearance against the Twins.

After using seven pitchers to complete a 13-12 victory over the Twins on Friday, the Astros needed right-hander Hunter Brown to give them some length on Saturday. But after surrendering seven runs on 10 hits through three innings, Brown didn’t appear to have the stuff necessary to spare the bullpen from another heavy workload.

But as a testament to his burgeoning maturity, Brown completed six innings while throwing a career-high 105 pitches. That enabled the Astros to use only two relievers — right-handers Rafael Montero and Kaleb Ort — and reset their bullpen in advance of the series finale and an off day on Monday.

Houston will return home for three games each against the Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers before the All-Star break.

“Those three extra innings of work got us all the way through the sixth,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “That was huge. We needed that.”

–Field Level Media

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