Lowrie's grand slam helps Astros over Twins 8-5
HOUSTON (AP) Jed Lowrie was hitting .300 at the end of April before spending three months on the disabled list after thumb surgery.
After a tough August in his return from the injury Lowrie is starting to heat up, and on Sunday his grand slam in Houston's five-run seventh inning helped the Astros rally for a 8-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
The Astros trailed by one when Lowrie hit his second career grand slam and his first since 2009 into the second row in right field off Trevor May (8-9) to make it 5-2.
''It just felt like a lot of pent up emotion,'' Lowrie said. ''That game, nothing was really happening, we were not hitting the ball very hard and we got the opportunity I think everybody took a big sigh of relief and had a lot of fun.''
May dropped his head when Lowrie connected and shook it as he bounded around the bases and into a celebration at home plate.
''In short I blew it,'' May said. ''I'm looking forward to another chance to get out there.''
Lowrie hit just .181 in August and was in a 0 for 28 slump before starting a current season-high six-game hitting streak where he has three homers, four doubles and seven RBIs.
''I feel like I've been hitting the ball well since coming back and even in that slump I was hitting the ball hard and just couldn't get any luck,'' Lowrie said. ''It's nice to get rewarded when you hit the ball eventually.''
Dallas Keuchel (17-6) became the American League's first 17-game winner, improved to 13-0 at home this season and set a franchise record with his 14th straight win in Houston dating back to last season. He allowed five hits, three runs and struck out 12 in eight innings.
But Keuchel wasn't celebrating the victory. Instead he was lamenting the season-high three homers he allowed.
''Because I don't want to give up home runs,'' he said. ''I don't want to give up runs period. So I think if anybody's satisfied with giving up runs, they're not taking their job very seriously.''
The bullpen collapse ruined a solid start for Twins starter Tyler Duffey, who was born in Houston and went to Rice. He yielded six hits and two runs with eight strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.
Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar and Aaron Hicks each hit a solo home run for the Twins, who have dropped three of their last four games.
Jake Marisnick padded Houston's lead with a three-run shot in the eighth inning.
The Twins added two runs in the ninth off Chad Qualls before Luke Gregerson got the final out for his 26th save.
The victory salvaged a series win for the AL West-leading Astros, who begin a key 10-game road trip against teams in the division on Monday.
Keuchel retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before Dozier sent the first pitch of the fourth inning into the seats in left field to make it 1-0. The Twins pushed the lead to 2-0 on Escobar's homer with one out in the fifth.
The Astros had a double in the third and hit leadoff doubles in both the fifth and sixth innings, but didn't have more than one hit in an inning until their big seventh.
Carlos Gomez got things going with a single with one out in that inning before a two-out single by Luis Valbuena chased Duffey. He was replaced by May, who walked pinch-hitter Preston Tucker to load the bases. Jose Altuve hit a dribbler to third baseman Trevor Plouffe and narrowly beat the throw to first for an RBI single to cut the lead to 2-1 before Lowrie's slam.
Entering Sunday, May had allowed just one run in 17 relief appearances since July 25, posting a 0.59 ERA with 23 strikeouts.
Astros: Starter Scott Feldman will be re-evaluated early next week after having discomfort in his right shoulder while throwing catch on Saturday. Feldman left his start on Tuesday in the third inning with discomfort in his shoulder and had a cortisone injection on Wednesday. The Astros hoped he'd miss just one start with the problem, but are unsure when he'll return after the latest setback.
Twins: Tommy Milone (7-4, 3.60) opposes Kansas City's Yordano Ventura (10-7, 4.24) when the Twins open a three-game series against the Royals on Monday. Milone is 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season.
Astros: Mike Fiers (7-9, 3.54) faces Oakland's Felix Doubront (2-1, 1.99) on Monday when the Astros begin a three-game series against the Athletics. Fiers, who threw a no-hitter on Aug. 21, is 2-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 24 strikeouts in four starts since a trade from Milwaukee.