Twenty-seven-year-old rookie Andrew Albers makes the sixth start of his big league career and faces the Houston Astros for the first time on Monday afternoon when the Minnesota Twins visit Minute Maid Park for the first of a three-game series.
Albers was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2008 and was with their organization until being released in March 2010. He was signed by the Twins a year later and went 8-2 with two minor-league teams in 2011, 5-3 with two teams in 2012 and 11-5 at Triple-A Rochester this season before getting the call to the majors.
He debuted with wins in his initial two starts while allowing six hits in 17 1/3 scoreless innings at Kansas City and home with Cleveland. The scoreless streak has since ended, and he's gone 0-2 in three starts while allowing 13 runs on 23 hits in 19 2/3 innings.
The Royals nicked him for three runs on six hits in seven innings of his last start, won by Kansas City, 8-1, on Aug. 28.
Albers has posted a 3.21 ERA while going 1-0 in two road starts.
For the Astros, rookie right-hander Paul Clemens makes his second straight start after beginning his career with 30 consecutive relief appearances.
The 25-year-old had posted a 6.36 ERA through 46 2/3 innings of relief work before going six innings and allowing a single run on four hits in a no- decision against the Chicago White Sox in Aug. 27.
He walked two batters and struck out two batters in that game, won by the White Sox, 4-3.
On Sunday in Texas, Alex Presley collected three hits, an RBI and run scored in his Minnesota debut, during a 4-2 win over Texas in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Josmil Pinto and Doug Bernier added run-scoring doubles for the Twins, who took two of three against the AL West leaders after dropping five in a row. Kevin Correia (9-10) scattered five hits and one run over seven effective innings. Glen Perkins tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his 32nd save.
In Houston, Brett Oberholtzer fired a four-hit shutout and Jason Castro broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing the Astros to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners with a 2-0 decision in the series finale.
Castro's double off Charlie Furbush (2-5) and Brandon Barnes' pinch-hit RBI single later in the eighth aided a gem from Oberholtzer (4-1) in his sixth major league start. The young lefty did not permit an extra-base hit and walked just one in a 113-pitch effort that halted a string of five straight Houston losses.
The Twins swept a three-game series with the Astros in Minnesota from Aug. 2-4 and held a 14-9 lead in the all-time series between the teams entering the week.