Donaldson’s RBI single in 11th lifts Twins over Astros 5-4
HOUSTON (AP) — Mitch Garver homered early and Josh Donaldson had an RBI single in the 11th inning in the Minnesota Twins’ 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Donaldson laced a ball to right field off Rafael Montero (5-4) with no outs in the 11th to score the runner who started the inning on second base.
It’s the second victory for the Twins in this four-game series and is the fifth loss in six games for the Astros.
“Our players were magnificent,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re playing against one of the best teams in baseball, they’re a well-oiled machine. We came in here and pitched and made plays and went out there and beat them for a couple of nights.
“I’m proud of the way we played. It’s fun playing baseball like that.”
There were two outs in the bottom of the inning when Jason Castro reached on a fielding error by Garver that left a runner at third. But Juan Minaya (2-0) retired Jose Altuve on a bunt to secure the victory.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment so I have to take advantage,” Minaya said. “It’s good I get to pitch in games like this. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Andrelton Simmons singled to start the 10th and send Rob Refsnyder, who started the inning on second, to third base. The Twins took a 4-3 lead when Max Kepler hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
Altuve opened Houston’s 10th on second and took third on a groundout by Michael Brantley. The Astros tied it back up when Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single to left center off Danny Coulombe.
There were two outs in the inning when Coulombe walked Kyle Tucker and was replaced by Minaya, who struck out Aledmys Díaz to sent it to the 11th.
Rookies Taylor Jones and Chas McCormick put the Astros up early after Jones hit a two-run homer in the second and McCormick slugged a solo shot in the fourth. Houston has homered in a season-long 16 straight games, dating to July 19, which is tied for the longest streak in the majors this season.
Jones has bounced around between the minors and the big league club this season and was recalled from Triple-A on Friday.
“I’ve been feeling good,” he said. “I think every time that I come up I try to think of it as a blank slate to do my part and do my job to help the team win.”
The Twins got the homer from Garver in a two-run fifth and tied it on an RBI single by Luis Arraez in the sixth.
McCormick doubled with two outs in the second before the Astros took the early lead on the shot by Jones off rookie starter Bailey Ober.
McCormick pushed the lead to 3-0 with his homer to left center with one out in the fourth.
Zack Greinke allowed a leadoff single to Max Kepler but didn’t allow another hit until the homer by Garver to open the fifth and cut the lead to 2.
The Twins made it 3-2 when Kepler grounded into force out that allowed Miguel Sanó, who had singled, to score.
Jorge Polanco doubled to start the sixth and tied it up when he scored on a single by Arraez with one out.
Ober permitted seven hits and three runs with one walk in five innings.
Greinke allowed six hits and three runs with a walk in six innings.
“Greinke was good,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “I think we got him out of there right on time. Greinke threw better than he had the last couple of times out. We went to the bullpen because that’s what we’ve got the bullpen for.”
Twins: Arraez was shaken up when he fielded a grounder by Correa for the last out of the seventh inning but remained in the game. He was replaced with two outs in the eighth when he fell to the dirt in pain after a swing. The Twins said that he left with tightness in his right knee. Baldelli said he’ll be evaluated on Saturday.
Astros: 1B Yuli Gurriel was placed on the 10-day injured list with neck stiffness on Friday, retroactive to Tuesday. ... INF Robel Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land. ... Jones and INF Jacob Wilson were recalled from Sugar Land to take their spots on the roster.
Garver has performed well in 11 games since coming off the injured list, hitting five home runs with 11 RBIs.
Minnesota’s Michael Pineda (4-6, 3.89 ERA) opposes Luis Garcia (7-6. 3.49) on Saturday.
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