MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Justin Verlander struck out nine over seven dominant innings, Carlos Correa had two hits and scored twice and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 on Monday night.
Verlander (2-0) was in control throughout on a chilly night with a first-pitch temperature of 35 degrees. The right-hander gave up three hits and walked one while helping the reigning World Series champions match their best 11-game start by going 9-2.
Verlander improved to 11-1 in 14 games, including the playoffs, since being traded to Houston last season.
Ken Giles earned his first save of the season by getting Byron Buxton to ground out with a runner on third in the ninth.
Twins reliever Taylor Rogers (1-1) allowed a leadoff double to Correa in the sixth after coming in for starter Lance Lynn. Correa scored from third on rookie J.D. Davis’ liner to left field off reliever Trevor Hildenberger.
Lynn pitched five scoreless innings in his first start at Target Field but departed early because of a rising pitch count. After walking six batters in his first outing of the year, Lynn walked four Monday to go with nine strikeouts on 105 pitches.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the eighth, but Eddie Rosario grounded into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch from reliever Chris Devenski.
AMES — Iowa State fans will have to wait until next season to see the Cyclone football team. ISU has canceled Saturday’s spring game due to the poor weather forecast. Cyclone coach Matt Campbell.
The Cyclones will close out spring drills in the indoor practice facility.
Campbell says the Cyclones will scrimmage inside on Saturday. It will be their third of the spring.
Iowa State will open the season September 1st at home against South Dakota State.
AMES — Two senior corners give the Iowa State defense a chance to make even more progress next season. Brian Peavy returns for his senior season after considering a jump to the NFL. He was a first team All Big-12 selection last season. He and fellow senior DeAndre Payne will be the leaders of the secondary.
Peavy says the goal is to become the best secondary in the Big 12.
Peavy says they will be counted on as leaders for the team and not just the defense.
Payne feels the secondary has a lot of potential.
Payne says there are several areas he is working on this spring.
Iowa State’s spring drills end on Saturday.
IOWA CITY — The Iowa Hawkeyes are looking to boost their punt game and punt return game in spring drills. The Hawkeyes ranked 13th in net punting last season and special teams coordinator LeVar Woods says there is competition for the punting job.
Colten Rastetter handled the majority of the punting chores last season and averaged just under 38 yards as a sophomore. Ryan Gersonde punted 13 times for an average of just over 42 yards as a freshman and Woods says he is trying to find the right style for the team.
Woods says the two punters have contrasting styles.
Iowa is looking to find a spark in the punt return game. The Hawkeyes finished 10th in returns last year and averaged just over six yards per return.
Woods says sophomore receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette has shined this spring in the return game. He caught 18 passes as a freshman.
Iowa’s spring drills run through April 20th.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns slammed his way to 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who toughed out a 113-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies to move one step closer to a long-sought spot in the playoffs. Jeff Teague added 24 points and Jimmy Butler scored 15 points for the Timberwolves, who trailed by 10 points early before taking over against a depleted Grizzlies team that beat them 101-93 exactly two weeks ago in one of their worst losses of the season.