Verlander dominates over 7 innings, Astros beat Twins 2-0

Facing Joe Mauer with runners at the corners and no outs, Justin Verlander reached back for a fastball that broke in to strike out the lefty-hitting Mauer.

Verlander said he yanked the four-seam fastball and was fortunate Mauer swung over it.

“He dials it up like the best in the game,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I don’t know too many guys that are better in those situations. There’s a lot of great pitchers around the league but when he can feel it and he smells that he needs to turn his game up, he really reaches deep and does some incredible things.”

Ken Giles earned his first save of the season for Houston by getting Byron Buxton to ground out with a runner on third in the ninth. Buxton hit a long foul ball during the at-bat that just went wide of the left field foul pole.

“Not overly concerned about it, just trying to get these guys to understand — they’re probably tired of hearing about it — but we just haven’t really settled into consistent at-bats and consistent play and conducive conditions, so you’ve just got to keep grinding,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You’ve got to hold your own the best you can until you start getting a better feel for playing day in and day out, which we haven’t done.”

Minnesota 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.

Williams did some decent work for the Cardinals last year, starting six games after injuries to others, and finishing with 426 yards on 120 carries.

The Chiefs still have Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware on the roster, so it’s already a deep position for them.

Although the new rule seems to apply broadly to lower the helmet and leading with it, O’Brien seems to think that “it’s more about the top of the head, the lowering of the head and using it as a weapon,” and not necessarily about the instinctive dipping of the helmet that happens whenever a runner tries to maneuver between the tackles.

“A running back one-on-one with a linebacker in the hole trying to get the extra yard,” O’Brien said. “Lowering his shoulder which obviously lowers his head to be able to get that extra yard. There’s a lot of conversations that have to take place before the rule is written because like you just said none of us want the running game to be out of football. Those are all good points and points that are being brought up. I know we’re working hard to get it written the right way so we can explain it to the players and the officials can officiate it the right way.”

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