Well the Astros did what the Astros do: follow up a historic performance with a loss. But this time it wasn't the bats that went cold, it was the bullpen (whom I effusively praised in this space yesterday - thanks, guys). The Astros had a 5-4 lead with two outs in the 9th and Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly combined to mess that up. Minnesota wins 7-5, the Astros are 31-22.
*Jose Altuve hit a grand slam in the 7th to temporarily put the Astros up 5-4. It was his 194th career home run, and his 7th career grand slam - his first since July 30, 2021. Altuve is 30 home runs away from passing Jimmy Wynn for 4th all-time. He also became the 8th Astro to cross the 700 career RBI mark, and he's 17 RBI short of Jimmy Wynn for 7th all-time in franchise history. Bregman, on Altuve:
He's incredible. He can barrel up any pitch, any spot, any time. We've seen it for the last decade...He's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy.
*Jose Abreu was 1x3 with a walk, singling off of a 103.6mph Jhoan Duran pitch - the 4th-fastest pitch anyone has taken for a hit since they started keeping track of that thing.
*J.P. France was aight - 6IP, 7H/4ER, 8K:3BB. It was his second-longest start in the Majors, and he tied a career high in strikeouts, set the last time he pitched. France has struck out 16 of the last 51 batters he has faced.
*Ryan Pressly blew the save in the 9th, his first since July 30, 2022 - a span of 50 appearances, postseason included.
*Bryan Abreu took the L, his first since May 18, 2021 - a span of 93 appearances. It's also the second appearance in a row in which he has allowed an earned run. Three of the six earned runs he's allowed this season have come since May 27.
*Carlos Correa is 2x25 with 10K:2BB against the Astros in his career.
*Totally missed that Minnesota's 1B/C coach is Hank Conger.
*Christian Vazquez will get his ring tonight.
*Lance McCullers Jr is no longer throwing off a mound, only further leading me to believe that they're really slow-walking the "Yeah okay he had Tommy John Surgery again last fall" announcement. A timeline of Lance's "rehab:"
February 18: LMJ gets shut down with "soreness in his throwing arm."
February 19: Dana Brown says LMJ is "day-to-day" and that Brown is "not alarmed at all."
February 22: LMJ tells reporters he has a "small muscle strain" with no structural damage to his arm or UCL.
March 11: LMJ is playing catch.
March 15: LMJ is cleared to resume lifting weights and throwing. It's described as a forearm strain.
March 28: Dana Brown is non-committal on the idea that LMJ will go on the 60-Day IL.
March 30: LMJ is "pain-free."
April 4: LMJ is "ahead of schedule," throwing from 90 feet on flat ground, and is close to throwing on back-to-back days. It's also now described as an elbow strain.
May 13: Dusty isn't sure when LMJ will face live batters.
May 21: Astros hope LMJ can return "closer to the All-Star Break, or after."
May 29: No longer throwing off a mound.
*Great story in Chicago as Liam Hendriks returned to the mound for the first time since beating cancer.
*Gary Sanchez is now a Padre, his third organization in the last two months.
*USMNT's Brenden Aaronson has a clause in his contract where he could leave if Leeds United got relegated, and...welp.
*NY Times: 47 Literary Escapes for This Season.
*The Ringer: How the rarest music in the world comes back.
*And with that, a Musical Selection: