McCormick has four RBIs as Astros beat Twins 5-1, avoid sweep

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS – Chas McCormick had four RBIs, Hunter Brown combined on a two-hitter and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 Sunday to salvage the series finale.

The World Series champions are 4-6 after winning for just the second time in seven games.

Mauricio Dubón had two hits and scored two runs, while Jeremy Peña and Yainer Diaz each had two hits for the Astros, who avoided a three-game sweep.

McCormick drove a high, outside slider the opposite way for a two-out, two-run homer in the third. In his next at-bat, he muscled a high fastball up the middle for a two-out, two-run, broken-bat single and a 4-1 lead.

“I just had to get on top of the ball. I felt like I was crashing a little bit,” said McCormick, who replaced Peña as the Astros’ leadoff hitter on Saturday. “Those balls up in the zone, I’ve been kind of rolling over, so all day I felt like I was getting pitches up in the zone and I made adjustments. I’m happy to get some two-out knocks. ”

Brown (1-1) allowed an unearned run and two hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts and two walks, rebounding from a shaky first start in which he gave up four earned runs and didn’t get out of the fifth inning against Detroit.

Brown reached 98.2 mph with his fastball, mixing 28 fastballs, 35 sliders, 33 knuckle-curves and one splitter.

“That bodes good for his confidence, for his next start and then after that,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Hopefully he can just get on a roll there, because you don’t depend on the bottom of your rotation to pitch like a top-of-the-rotation guy, you depend on them to give you innings and give you quality, and it was great to stop that streak.”

Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly each worked a scoreless inning for Houston, which entered the series with seven wins in its previous eight games at Minnesota.

Tyler Mahle (1-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings.

“I think he looked relatively sharp, mostly. But I think there are some pitches he would want back,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

“They hit a home run to the opposite field on a slider on the outer edge of the plate – that’s a big swing by them, too,” he added. “When you look at it, those are defining plays in the outcome of the game. They got it done. We didn’t really muster enough offensively to get it going.”

Donovan Solano had an RBI single in the fourth after Byron Buxton singled and advanced on third baseman Alex Bregman‘s throwing error.

Peña added a run-scoring double in the eighth off Emilio Pagán.


McCormick knows he’s only temporarily holding down the leadoff spot while second baseman Jose Altuve recovers from a broken thumb sustained during the World Baseball Classic. Still, he was taking notes the last two seasons with his front-row view of Altuve filling that important role for the Astros.

“You want to get the boys rolling, you want to be that spark plug,” McCormick said. “I’ve been watching Altuve do that for a couple of years now, and it can really turn a game around. … My job is to get on base as the leadoff. I’m happy Dusty gave me the call, put me in that spot. I’ve got a long way to go, though.”


Houston’s Kyle Tucker was ejected in the eighth inning by plate umpire Mark Carlson. Tucker hit a bases-loaded grounder to second baseman Nick Gordon, who threw home for a forceout. Catcher Ryan Jeffers’ throw hit Tucker on on elbow, and Tucker was called out by Carlson, apparently for being outside the runner’s lane when hit. As manager Dusty Baker came out to argue, Tucker apparently said something to the umpire that triggered the ejection.

“That’s always a rule of contention because you have to run outside the line, but then you have to go back inside to touch the bag at some point, because the bag’s in fair territory,” Baker said. “That’s a tough way to get ejected out of the game – I don’t blame him. But a rule is a rule.”


After Saturday’s loss, Baker led a contingent of from the team’s traveling party to U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, for a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

“My spirit needed that,” said the 73-year-old Baker, whose defending World Series champions lost six of their first nine games this season.

Baker went backstage and even got a shoutout on Twitter from the band’s bassist, Flea. Baker said he’d previously been introduced to Flea by musically inclined pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who played for Baker in Cincinnati.


Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (0-1, 1.50 ERA) will take the mound as Houston opens a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday. Valdez has allowed just two runs over 12 innings in his first two starts.

Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (0-1, 1.80) makes his second start of the season on Monday afternoon as the Twins welcome the White Sox to Target Field to start a three-game series. Maeda, who missed the 2022 season after Tommy John surgery, gave up one run and struck out nine in five innings at Miami in his return on April 4.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.