Minnesota Twins season ends with 3-2 playoff loss to Houston (Audio)

October 3, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Carlos Correa waited on deck with two outs in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins trailing by one run, eager for another at-bat against his former team.

Tied for the third-most RBIs in postseason history, Correa has occasionally pointed to his wrist after clutch hits to signify the biggest situations are his time to shine.

This moment never came.

Houston closer Ryan Pressly completed a perfect ninth by striking out the side, hitting the outside corner with a full-count fastball that froze Max Kepler and ended a 3-2 victory for the Astros that eliminated the Twins in Game 4 of their AL Division Series on Wednesday night.

The Astros advanced to their seventh straight ALCS. Correa played for them in the first five before coming to Minnesota.

“The experience matters, and they played really good baseball this series,” Correa said. “They were just a little bit better than us.”

Just a little bit better, but in a lot of ways.

The Twins, who set a major league record with 1,654 strikeouts this year, whiffed 14 times in Game 4 after doing the same in Game 3. They totaled just six hits over their two home games in the series, though home runs by Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien on Wednesday gave them a fighting chance.

“We’re a team that will strike out. The strikeouts in and of themselves, that’s not necessarily the issue. You’d like to put a few more balls in play on the barrel and see what happens,” manager Rocco Baldelli said, complimenting Astros starter José Urquidy for keeping the Twins off balance with his changeup and a slower breaking ball.

Baldelli says the loss leaves his team hungry for more success…..

Correa credited catcher Martín Maldonado for the way his former teammate called the game.

“He knows every hitter’s weaknesses,” Correa said, later adding: “We’ve just got to get better, and we’ve got to have a better plan. There’s a lot of things that could’ve gone better for us, and they didn’t. That’s why we’re here right now talking about this loss.”

The Twins had a whopping 413 more whiffs than the Astros had with the third-fewest in baseball.

“Yeah, they pitched the ball well but at the end of the day, we’ve got to do better,” said Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers, who was 2 for 13 in the series. “They’ve been one of the better pitching staffs in the league for a long time. That’s why they’ve won so many games. They’ve got guys that step up. That’s what they’ve done forever. They have guys that, whether they haven’t pitched in a while or have been sloppy, for some reason when they get in the playoffs, those guys turn it up a notch. You tip your cap to that.”

Lewis and Julien, the rookies, gave the Twins a glimpse of a more productive lineup in the future. Lewis hit four homers in six postseason games. Julien batted .294 with two doubles, a homer and five walks.

Lewis was asked about what he’ll remember most about this season…

“They’re going to be a big part of what we’re going to accomplish in this organization, so I’m very excited for next year,” Correa said. “We’re going to go and get better, and we’re going to put up better numbers, and we’re going to be in a really good spot.”