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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Twins drilled in Houston

HOUSTON -- Chris  Carter homered twice and knocked in five, as the Houston Astros pounded the Minnesota Twins, 10-4, in the second edition of a three-game series.  Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Astros, who recovered from dropping a 4-2 decision in Monday's opener to win for the third time in five overall.  Oswaldo Arcia accounted for three RBI on two home runs and Kennys Vargas added a solo shot for the Twins, whose two-game win streak came to an end.  Yohan Pino (1-5) was tagged in defeat for seven hits and as many runs, despite fanning seven, in just 4 1/3 frames.  While the Twins had their two game winning streak stopped, they've also dropped five of its last seven.  The finale of the series is this afternoon at 1:10 p.m.


The Twins will be hoping to quickly forget about last night's 10-4 pounding at the hands of the Astros as this afternoon the series finale will take place with a 1:10 p.m. first pitch.  Kyle Gibson (10-9, 4.13 ERA) will take the mound for Minnesota.    Gibson has won two of his last three starts.  After today the Twins have tomorrow off and then begin a 10 game home stand on Friday featuring Kansas City, Cleveland and Detroit.


After taking yesterday off from the practice field the Minnesota Vikings will return to practice today in Mankato.  First a walk-thru at 10:30 this morning followed by a 3 p.m. practice this afternoon.  The Vikings are coming off a 10-6 win in their preseason opener this past Friday.  They'll look to stretch their preseason record to 2-0 on Saturday when they host the Arizona Cardinals.  Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. from TCF Bank Stadium.


The Golden Gopher football team will have a pair of practices today on the U-of-M campus.  First they'll take the field at 9:10 this morning and then be back for more this afternoon at 4:40 p.m.  Fall camp has now stretched into its second week gearing towards the season opener against Eastern Illinois on August 28th at TCF Bank Stadium.  


Kristi Toliver scored 29 points and the Los Angeles Sparks clinched a playoff berth Tuesday with a 71-63 win over the Minnesota Lynx.  Candace Parker added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Alana Beard scored 10 for the Sparks, who currently sit third in the Western Conference ahead of San Antonio.  The Lynx have suddenly dropped two in a row after 11 straight wins, including Saturday's heartbreaker against Phoenix in a showdown of the league's best two teams.  The Lynx remain playoff-bound, but won't be able to gain home-court advantage throughout the postseason. That honor goes to Phoenix, which beat New York on Tuesday to clinch the league's best mark and move within one win of tying the WNBA single-season record.  Maya Moore scored 20 points to lead the Lynx, who had an 11-point lead in the first quarter and a seven-point edge at halftime.  Next up the Lynx travel to San Antonio on Friday night to face the Stars at 7 p.m.


The Minnesota Lynx yesterday announced Damiris Dantas will miss the remaining three regular season games due to personal reasons.  No further details were disclosed.


 The Marlene Stollings era of the Minnesota women's basketball program will begin November 14 when the Golden Gophers host Southeastern Louisiana at Williams Arena as part of the team's 12-game non-conference schedule announced today. The slate will feature at least five opponents who participated in post-season play, including three that made appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  Minnesota will face its first NCAA Tournament participant in the first of three games at the 2014 Gulf Coast Showcase when they take on Vanderbilt Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. CT. Defending NCAA Champion UConn or College of Charleston will be the Gophers' next opponent in the event on Nov. 29, while Georgia Tech, Green Bay, Arizona State and Villanova round out the field.  Before the Maroon and Gold head to the Sunshine State, however, it will host Cleveland State Nov. 19 and Southern University on Nov. 25, while it's slated to hit the road for the first time of the 2014-15 season when it travels to Memphis on Nov. 23.  Following the Gulf Coast Showcase, Minnesota travels to Raleigh, N.C., to compete in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Dec. 3 against NC State, a team that posted a 25-8 overall record and earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Lincoln Regional a year ago.  The Gophers will return to the friendly confines of the Barn for a 6 pm. showdown with Butler Dec. 7, before competing in its final non-conference road game Dec. 10 at North Dakota.  Minnesota will wrap non-conference action by hosting the Gopher Classic at Williams Arena. The squad is set to face Liberty Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. and Central Michigan Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m.


The first two trips the St. Paul Saints took to Shaw Park in Winnipeg Willie Cabrera did not go.  Not only did he make the trip this time, but he made his presence known by tying a franchise record with three homers and 12 total bases.  Unfortunately, the Saints didn't provide much else offensively and lost the first game of an all important three game series to the Winnipeg Goldeyes 6-4 on Tuesday evening at Shaw Park.  The Saints now trail the Goldeyes by 4.0 games in the division with 21 games to play.  The same two teams meet Wednesday evening in game two of the three game series at Shaw Park at 7:00 p.m.  The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (5-6. 6.72) to the mound against Goldeyes RHP Matt Jackson (8-6, 4.13).