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Behind Polanco, Twins hammer Astros

Minnesota Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario (20, left) celebrates with Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) after scoring a run against the Houston Astros during the first inning Monday, April 22, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Erik Williams / USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON -- Jorge Polanco recorded his second four-hit game of the season, including a two-run, two-out homer in the eighth inning to carry the Minnesota Twins to a 9-5 victory over the host Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game series Monday, April 22, at Minute Maid Park.

Polanco went 4-for-5 with a double and his fourth home run, a shot off Astros reliever Chris Devenski that eluded right fielder Josh Reddick before landing in the first row of seats. Polanco plated Max Kepler with his blast and took the starch out of the Astros' latest comeback attempt.

Houston trailed 7-1 before getting a solo homer from left fielder Michael Brantley in the sixth inning and a three-run blast from shortstop Carlos Correa in the seventh. Brantley and Correa both homered Sunday in the series finale against the Texas Rangers when the Astros rallied from a nine-run deficit and loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning before falling 11-10. Houston has dropped three consecutive games for a second time this season.

The Twins, winner of 5 of 6, jumped to a 3-0 lead when C.J. Cron drilled a two-run double that scored Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario in the first inning, and Jason Castro opened the second with his first home run on the season, a 390-foot shot into the Houston bullpen in right-center. Astros right-hander Brad Peacock (2-1) found his footing after the Castro dinger, completing five innings while surrendering six hits, three runs and three walks with two strikeouts. But Polanco, who doubled in the second inning before stroking a leadoff single in the fifth, struck once again.

Polanco followed an RBI single from Kepler with a two-run single that drove home Kepler and Castro. He scored when Cruz added his second infield single, capping that four-run outburst against Astros right-hander Josh James. Cruz finished 2-for-5 while Polanco posted four RBIs.

Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi (2-2) limited the Astros to two runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out two without walking a batter. Houston went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine baserunners.