The future is on display this week at Minute Maid Park.
After a pair of rookies squared off in the opener of this three-game series between two of the worst teams in the AL, the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros will send young pitchers to the mound again Tuesday night.
Jarred Cosart (1-1, 1.59 ERA) has shown why he was one of the highest-ranked prospects in the Astros' system in each of the past two seasons. The right-hander burst onto the scene with eight scoreless innings in his major league debut July 12, beating Tampa Bay 2-1, and he's allowed three runs or fewer in each of his eight starts.
That includes Wednesday, when he failed to receive a decision despite allowing one run in six innings of a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The pressure of facing Chicago ace Chris Sale may have gotten to him early as the White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but Cosart got out of the jam with one run allowed.
He gave up four hits over his final five innings.
"(Pitching coach Doug) Brocail thought I was working really fast and he asked if I was all right," Cosart said. "I said, 'Yeah, just a little excited.' So I just kind of got back in my comfort zone."
Walks have limited Cosart's ability to pitch deep into games. He issued five for the third time Wednesday, driving his pitch count up to 113 after six innings.
He also hasn't gotten much support from a stagnant Houston offense, which has provided him 13 runs.
Cosart hopes the Astros (45-92) can stage a repeat of Monday, when their six runs and 13 hits marked their highest totals in a week. Houston, though, allowed the Twins to score five times in the last two innings in falling 10-6.
He also wouldn't mind a repeat of his Aug. 2 start against the Twins, when he held them to a run and five hits in seven innings of a 4-3, 13-inning loss.
Pedro Hernandez 's introduction to the big leagues has been far less smooth than Cosart's, though he has three times as many wins.
Hernandez (3-1, 5.54) posted a 6.67 ERA in six starts this season before he was sent down to the minor leagues May 20.
He drove from Louisville, Ky., to make an emergency start June 23 in Cleveland, arriving at the team hotel at four in the morning. The 24-year-old left-hander then managed to work around six walks to yield two runs in five innings of a 5-3 win.
"After the third inning, I said, 'Come on. Let's go. This is my opportunity. I want to do my best right now,'" Hernandez said.
The Twins (60-76) hit seven home runs in 11 games before tying a season high with four Monday. Chris Colabello , Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe hit solo shots, and Colabello completed Minnesota's comeback from four runs down with a ninth-inning grand slam.
"The biggest goal for a hitter is to go out and be yourself," Colabello said. "Trust your approach. Trust what you do. Believe in what got you here and then go from there. Today was a good step in that direction."
Colabello had gone 42 at-bats without a homer and was 1 for 26 with 14 strikeouts over his previous eight games.
Dozier has four home runs in his last nine games.
Houston All-Star Jason Castro sustained a right knee sprain Monday, and with Max Stassi and Carlos Corporan on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Cody Clark was the only healthy catcher until the Astros acquired Matt Pagnozzi from Atlanta for cash considerations Tuesday.
Clark is 0 for 13 with six strikeouts in his first five big league games, while Pagnozzi has batted .310 in 33 career games with St. Louis, Colorado and Pittsburgh.
|August 30, 2013||Samuel Deduno||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|August 30, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||15-Day DL||Fractured left tibia|
|August 29, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left shin injury|
|August 20, 2013||Joe Mauer||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 16, 2013||Oswaldo Arcia||Day-to-Day||Sore wrist|
|August 08, 2013||Ryan Doumit||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|September 02, 2013||Jason Castro||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right knee sprain|
|August 22, 2013||Max Stassi||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 21, 2013||Max Stassi||Day-to-Day||Left game - head|
|August 20, 2013||Carlos Corporan||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 07, 2013||Jonathan Villar||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained hand|
|July 31, 2013||Brandon Barnes||Day-to-Day||Lower back tightness|
HOUSTON (AP) -- One night after staging an impressive comeback victory, the Minnesota Twins found themselves on the other side of an impressive rally.
They managed to stick around long enough to get the win.
Clete Thomas scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 12th inning and Darin Mastroianni added a two-run double, helping the Twins beat the Houston Astros 9-6 on Tuesday for their third straight win.
"A long one but a good one for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Thomas reached on a fielder's choice and went to third on Josmil Pinto 's double. Kevin Chapman (0-1) then uncorked a wild pitch with pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit at the plate.
Mastroianni provided a couple of insurance runs when he doubled with two down as Minnesota recovered after Glen Perkins blew a save opportunity in the ninth.
"We haven't lost a lead too many times with Perk in the game; he just didn't have his stuff," Gardenhire said. "He said it - he couldn't locate the baseball."
Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe homered for Minnesota, which improved to 5-0 against major league-worst Houston. Plouffe and Pinto had four hits apiece, and Mastroianni went 3 for 6 with three RBIs.
"Chapman threw me a slider, and I thought it was a ball but the umpire called it a strike," Pinto said of his key double in the 12th. "I told myself to try a little harder and the next pitch was a slider and I hit it."
Brandon Barnes had three hits and five RBIs for the Astros, including a tying three-run homer off Perkins with two out in the ninth.
"(Minnesota) ended up doing a little bit more than we did," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Caleb Thielbar (3-2) pitched two hitless innings for the win and Josh Roenicke finished for his first save.
Barnes and Marwin Gonzalez walked with one out in the 12th, but Roenicke retired the next two batters to get out of the jam.
The Twins won 10-6 in Monday's series opener by scoring five times in the last two innings, including Chris Colabello 's tiebreaking grand slam in the ninth. But Houston responded with its own comeback in the second game.
With two out and none on in the ninth, Perkins hit Brett Wallace with a pitch and L.J. Hoes then singled to right to put runners on the corners. Perkins got ahead of Barnes 0-2 before he sent the next pitch over the wall in right for his seventh homer.
"We've been fighting," Barnes said. "We've been on the wrong side of some games, but we fight. We battle. We're young and we're still learning."
The Twins got to Jarred Cosart for two in the first and two more in the third while building a 4-1 lead. Dozier went deep in the first and Plouffe added another two-run shot in the third after Cosart walked Josh Willingham on four pitches with two out.
Cosart, who entered with a 1.59 ERA through eight starts, gave up four runs and five hits in four innings. He struck out five and walked three.
"It's kind of what everyone's been waiting for," Cosart said of his outing. "I didn't get the results. A starter's job is to keep the team in the game and give us a chance to win the game. I didn't do that today."
Chris Carter hit his 27th homer in the second for the Astros, and Barnes' two-run single cut Minnesota's lead to 4-3 in the seventh. But Houston lost a chance for a bigger inning when Barnes was thrown out at the plate when Gonzalez was caught between first and second.
Pedro Hernandez allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings for the Twins. It was his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 30 after Samuel Deduno went on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury.
"We used a lot of pitching," Gardenhire said. "Our starter was good; Hernandez was fine. We had like a 70- to 80-pitch limit on him and he was pretty close to right around there."
NOTES: Astros All-Star C Jason Castro was out of the lineup after spraining his right knee on Monday. "The good news is that there's no structural damage," Porter said. "He's day to day and he's obviously sore right now." Castro said he had a cyst drained Tuesday. ... Astros 3B Matt Dominguez was out of the lineup with a stomach illness. ... The Astros acquired C Matt Pagnozzi from Atlanta for cash. Houston transferred RHP Edgar Gonzalez to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Pagnozzi on the roster.