Valdez throws 7 strong innings, Alvarez homers twice in Astros' 5-2 victory over Twins

HOUSTON (AP) — Framber Valdez pitched no-hit ball into the seventh inning and Yordan Alvarez hit two of Houston’s four homers in the Astros' 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Valdez (4-3) didn’t allow a hit until a single to start the seventh. He yielded the two hits and a run with four strikeouts in seven innings.

“I felt good from the beginning with my pitches,” Valdez said in Spanish through a translator. “They were doing what I wanted them to do and I was able to throw them for strikes in the location where I wanted them.”

Alvarez hit a two-run home run off Joe Ryan (4-4) in the first and his solo shot off the starter in the fifth inning made it 5-0. It’s the third multi-homer game of the season for Alvarez and 18th of his career.

“I felt like the Yordan that people are accustomed to,” Alvarez said in Spanish through a translator.

Struggling first baseman José Abreu hit his first home run and second extra-base hit of the season in the second inning. Kyle Tucker added a homer in the third to give him 19 this season, which ranks second in the majors behind Aaron Judge’s 20.

Houston led 5-2 with one out in the ninth when Jake Meyers made a leaping catch at wall in center field to rob Byron Buxton of a homer. Closer Josh Hader raised both arms high in the air after the catch and Buxton, a fellow center fielder, tipped his helmet to Meyers.

Hader then struck out Willi Castro to get his eighth save.

Valdez sailed through the first six innings. He walked Manuel Margot to start the fourth and plunked Kyle Farmer to open the sixth but has faced the minimum thanks to double plays in both innings.

Valdez got some help from his defense for the first out of the third. Tucker made a leaping catch just before crashing into the right field wall on a fly ball hit by Farmer.

The Twins got their first hit when Margot singled on a grounder to center field to start the seventh. Margot moved to second on a wild pitch with one out before scoring on a two-out single by Jose Miranda that cut the lead to 5-1.

An RBI single by Carlos Correa got the Twins within 5-2 with two outs in the eighth.

“When you’re held down like that through six, it does take a lot to come back and win... (but) we kept playing hard," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Tucker walked in the first before the first homer by Alvarez made it 2-0.

There were two outs in the second when Abreu’s shot pushed the lead to 3-0. Abreu, who is batting .119, was playing his fourth game in the majors after spending almost a month in the minors to work on his swing after a terrible start to the season.

“I think it’s very important to understand where I am and where I need to be at,” he said in Spanish through a translator. “The results haven’t been there these first 3-4 games. But trust me, I feel confident that I can get to the spot where I can help this team, help this organization win games.”

Tucker’s home run to right center came with one out in the third to make it 4-0. There were two outs in the fifth when Alvarez connected again.

Ryan yielded eight hits, including four homers and five runs — all season highs — in five innings.

UP NEXT

Minnesota RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-0, 2.70 ERA), who is from suburban Houston, was set to face RHP Hunter Brown (1-5, 6.39) when the series concludes Sunday.

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