By Brian McTaggart and Rhett Bollinger
MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the most dynamic middle infields in baseball put on a show with the bats Tuesday night. Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 -- his seventh four-hit game this season -- and shortstop Carlos Correa was 2-for-4 with four RBIs as Houston overcame three Twins homers in a 7-5 win at Target Field.
"No matter the situation, you need this kind of game -- go out there, swing the bats, score some runs," Altuve said. "Everybody was right there playing hard, and this is the team we are."
Correa blasted a two-run homer in the first off left-hander Hector Santiago, but the Twins took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on back-to-back homers by former Astro Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier. A two-run, bases-loaded single by Correa in the sixth tied the game at 4, and Altuve pushed the lead to 6-4 in the seventh with his fourth single.
"It's been fun, man," Correa said of hitting behind Altuve. "I'm not getting [RBIs] because I'm hitting with guys on base, I'm getting ribbies because he's on base 60 percent of the time. He's always on base. He's been a key component, obviously, and the biggest piece of this puzzle. He's been doing a great job."
Santiago, a Trade Deadline acquisition who was making his home debut, allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, while Astros starter Mike Fiers (8-5) gave up four runs and five hits in five innings for the win.
"I kind of got into a little jam there in the sixth and couldn't get out of it," Santiago said. "I made some good pitches. [George] Springer got jammed and got it down the line. Altuve hit a good pitch off the plate and kept it up the middle. And Correa on a changeup, I thought I beat him, but he's strong and hit it the other way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Altuve continues road tear: After being held out Monday -- and seeing his 202 consecutive-games-played streak snapped in the process -- Altuve returned to the lineup with four hits. He's reached base in 39 consecutive road games and is hitting .429 on the road this year, including a staggering .493 since May 1.
"He looked refreshed," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't think he ever has too much of a bad day. But he came out with some fresh legs and the normal swing that he has. He's just continuing a remarkable season and doing just about everything you could ask out of a player." More >
Grossman, Dozier go back-to-back: With the Twins down a run in the fifth, Grossman connected on a two-run shot off his former team for his first home run since June 30. Four pitches later, Dozier launched a 1-2 changeup from Fiers over the left-field fence for his team-leading 23rd homer of the year. It was the third blast of the night for the Twins, as Miguel Sano also connected on a solo shot in the second.
"Miggy, in his first at-bat, on the first pitch he was ready," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Dozier worked a good at-bat and got a changeup. Grossman, in his second time around, he was one of the few guys to get a high-zone fastball and barrel it. So that was our offense with the three long balls."
Correa an RBI machine: The four RBIs by Correa give him a team-leading 74 for the season, putting him within shot of reaching 100 in his first full season in the big leagues. He ended a 15-game homerless streak with his two-run blast in the first inning en route to his second four-RBI game of the season.
"He's a run-producer," Hinch said. "Obviously, getting into the four-hole and hitting with Altuve in front of him, he's going to have even more opportunities. The key for him is not to be anything other than himself. The standards that he sets for himself are higher than even what people set for him, which are pretty high."
Twins struggle with RISP: Minnesota went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position with the lone hit coming in the sixth inning on a single from rookie Jorge Polanco. But the Twins couldn't score on the play, as Trevor Plouffe was thrown out at home by center fielder Jake Marisnick.
"We got the home runs to supply the offense but we certainly missed out on our chances to execute, and I think that was big part of the game," Molitor said. "Not advancing guys from second and third with no outs and getting them in at third. We missed three opportunities in that regard." More >
"He just seems to find a hole. He's the best hitter in the game right now. You try to bear with it and minimize the damage and keep him to a single." -- Santiago, on Altuve
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins have hit back-to-back homers 10 times this season, which ranks as the third-most in franchise history and their most since they did it 11 times in 1986.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who's coming off his best performance of the season, will start Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. CT game at Target Field. He shut out the Rangers on three hits Friday and has gone 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA in his last eight starts.
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (5-9, 3.62 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the third game of this series (7:10 p.m. CT). Santana has been on a roll, posting a 2.05 ERA over his last nine outings.