Brian Dozier homered and Eddie Rosario’s two-run double in the sixth inning lifted the Twins to the 4-2 victory.
The game was tied entering the sixth when a walk by Miguel Sano and consecutive singles by Max Kepler and Robbie Grossman loaded the bases with no outs in the inning to chase starter Joe Musgrove (4-8). He was replaced by Tony Sipp, who was greeted with the double by Rosario that put Minnesota up 4-2. That ball was deflected by Sipp and rolled just out of reach of a diving Jose Altuve and into shallow right field.
“That’s just how it goes and it’s just the nature of the game,” Rosario said in Spanish through a translator. “Obviously, you want to hit the ball hard and get a nice hit, but sometimes, things like that happen. I obviously wanted to get the runs in, but they just came in that way.”
Ervin Santana (11-6) allowed five hits and two runs in six innings for the win and Brandon Kintzler pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
Musgrove yielded eight hits and four runs in five-plus innings for his fourth straight loss.
The victory snaps a three-game skid for the Twins and ends a seven-game losing streak to the Astros.
“The first four chapters on the Houston book weren’t particularly good reading,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It got a little bit better today.”
Altuve hit a solo homer and Yuli Gurriel had two hits and an RBI for the Astros, who went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position a night after using an eight-run second inning to get a 10-5 win in the series opener.
“It’s a tough game, and when things don’t go your way, there’s a lot of what ifs, there’s a lot of could have’s, and there’s a lot of nonsense,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “You just need to win the at-bats and we did, but we came up a little short.”
Carlos Correa walked to start the second and the Astros tied it 1-1 when he scored on a one-out double by Gurriel. Marwin Gonzalez walked after that before Alex Bregman drew a walk with two outs to load the bases. But Santana retired George Springer to escape the jam.
The Astros took a 2-1 lead when Altuve sent a fastball into the bullpen in right-center with no outs in the third for his 14th homer.
Jorge Polanco singled to start the fifth to snap an 0-for-22 skid before a walk by Jason Castro. Dozier singled to load the bases before Zack Granite grounded into a double play that allowed Polanco to score and make it 2-2.
Houston loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Gurriel grounded into a force out to leave everyone stranded.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer was activated from the DL on Saturday after missing six games with a lower back strain. … CF Byron Buxton was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained left groin after he was injured Friday night.
Astros: Injured ace Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday. Keuchel hasn’t pitched since June 2 because of a pinched nerve in his neck. The lefty will likely need multiple starts in the minors before he comes off the DL, but the Astros haven’t yet determined exactly how many he will need. He’s expected to throw two innings on Monday.
COLON TO START
Bartolo Colon, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins after his release by the Atlanta Braves, will start for Minnesota on Tuesday against the New York Yankees. The 44-year-old started for Triple-A Rochester on Thursday night where he allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings.
A night after setting the franchise record for career leadoff homers, Dozier connected on the game’s first pitch to give him leadoff homers in consecutive games for the second time in his career. He has 22 in his career and three this season.
“They come in bunches. We all know that he can get hot,” Molitor said. “It’ll be great to see him ignite our offense a little bit. Leadoff home runs are icing on the cake to get us in a little bit better groove offensively and provide a spark for us.”
Twins: Kyle Gibson (5-7, 6.31 ERA) will start for Minnesota in the finale on Sunday. He’ll look to rebound after allowing nine hits and seven runs in four innings of an 11-5 loss to Baltimore in his last start.
Astros: Mike Fiers (5-4, 3.84 ERA) is scheduled to start for Houston on Sunday. Fiers allowed five hits and three runs in six innings while tying a season-high with four walks in a 7-2 loss to Toronto in his last start.