HOUSTON (AP) — On a day when Houston’s powerful hitters were lagging, the Astros found a way to generate runs in another way.
Mike Fiers struck out a season-high 11 over seven strong innings and Nori Aoki had two hits and two RBIs to help the Astros beat the Minnesota Twins and Greenfield-native Kyle Gibson 5-3 on Sunday.
The AL West leaders took two of three from the Twins coming out of the All-Star break.
Twins starter Gibson (5-8) yielded four runs in six-plus innings. Gibson allowed six hits and four walks overall with six strikeouts for the Twins (46-45), who lost five of six games against the Astros this season.
Gibson did not surrender a hit after the fourth, when Astros left fielder Aoki produced a two-run double that gave Houston a 3-2 lead. Two of the four batters that Gibson walked eventually scored.
“I was appreciative that he let me go back out there in the seventh,” Gibson told The Sports Xchange of Twins manager Paul Molitor. “I felt really good and was glad I was able to get that ground ball from Aoki in the sixth, and I was just glad that he sent me back out there and gave me a chance to compete.”
Gibson has walked at least three in eight of 17 starts this season. His season ERA dropped to 6.29, but he has lost three of his past four starts.
Houston trailed in the fourth before Yuli Gurriel doubled, Marwin Gonzalez walked and Aoki hit a two-run double. The Astros added a couple of insurance runs in the seventh thanks to alert baserunning.
Jake Marisnick walked, stole second base and scored on an error by first baseman Kennys Vargas. Jose Altuve doubled, stole third and dashed home when Josh Reddick was thrown out at first on a third strike that got away.
Fiers (6-4) allowed two runs on four hits and no walks. He had walked eight combined in his last two starts.
Kyle Gibson struggled with his control against the Houston Astros on Sunday. He fanned six but walked four, with each runner scoring, as he took the loss. Gibson allowed six hits through 6.0 innings. Gibson’s pitching line against the Astros as well as for the 2017 season: