October 9, 2023

Lopez, Correa come up huge as Twins even series with Astros

Pablo Lopez pitched seven innings of shutout baseball and Carlos Correa drove in three runs to lead the Twins to a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Sunday. The series is now tied at a game apiece.

Games 3 and 4 are at Target Field, which means the Twins, backed by their raucous fans, have a good chance to steal this thing and advance to the AL Championship Series.

Lopez was sensational. He scattered six hits, not allowing any of Houston’s Big Boppers to do any real damage, with a walk and seven strikeouts on 105 pitches. He is now 2-0 in the postseason with a 0.71 ERA.

And Correa has been nothing short of a revelation and a reminder that the reason for any team to try to land the shortstop is because of his postseason play. Correa, who has 18 career postseason home runs, just seems to rise to the occasion in the playoffs.

He went 3-for-4 in Sunday’s win and drove in three runs to pace the Twins, plus he made an unbelievable defensive play to get the ball and rifle it to first base for the final out of the game. The guy has an absolute cannon for an arm.

What does it all mean? It means that despite Correa’s .230 batting average during the regular season, he is worth every penny of his giant contract, a contract that pays him around $30 million per season. So far in the playoffs, he has eight hits in 15 at bats for a slash line of .533/.588/1.321. It’s hard to argue with those numbers.

Sonny Gray gets the ball Tuesday.

Extra innings …

-Although the Twins won on Sunday, they did not leave unscathed because the very dangerous Yordan Alvarez homered off reliever Brock Stewart to give the Astros their two runs. You can always walk him, Rocco Baldelli.

-The pitcher the Twins beat on Sunday was none other than Framber Valdez, the pitcher who haunted the Twins in the 2020 AL Wild Card Series.

In that game, the Twins scored first, getting a run off future Hall of Famer Zack Greinke. But as good as Greinke is, Houston manager Dusty Baker, perhaps sensing trouble, turned to the bullpen and called on Valdez to finish the game. Framber proceeded to two-hit the Twins over five innings in the 4-1 Astros win.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.