Twins rally from down 5-0 falls short in 6-4 ALDS Game 1 loss at Houston

Kenta Maeda #18 of the Minnesota Twins reacts after a walk during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros during Game One of the Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 07, 2023 in Houston, Texas.  ((Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Twins are down 1-0 after a 6-4 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

Bailey Ober got his first career playoff start for the Twins, and Jose Altuve sent his first pitch of the game to the bleachers in left for a 1-0 Astros lead. Yordan Alvarez gave Houston a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer to right in the third inning, the first of two for Alvarez on the night.

The Astros added two in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. Jose Abreu singled down the left field line, scoring Alex Bregman. Chas McCormack added a two out single to left, scoring Alvarez.

The Twins made it interesting with a four-run rally in the seventh inning. Jorge Polanco belted a three-run homer to right. Royce Lewis followed with a solo shot to left, his third homer of the postseason, to get the Twins within 5-4.

Alvarez gave the Astros an insurance run in the seventh with his second homer of the night for a 6-4 lead.

The Twins had a chance to score early on Justin Verlander, but with runners at first and third and two out in the first inning, Alex Kirilloff grounded out to end the threat. Edoard Julien doubled to lead off the third, then got picked off trying to get to third on a ground ball. The Twins were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and left eight runners on base.

Verlander tossed six shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out six before the Twins tried to rally against the Astros’ bullpen.

Ober gave up three earned runs on four hits over four innings, while striking out two. Kenta Maeda gave up two earned runs in two innings of relief, and Caleb Thielbar gave up one earned run.

The Astros have now won 12 straight Divisional Series games at home, with their last loss coming on Oct. 12, 2015, to the Kansas City Royals.

The Twins will try to even the series with Pablo Lopez on the mound for Game 2 Sunday night.