Houston, TX – Chris Colabello slugged two home runs, including his first career grand slam in the ninth inning, to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 10-6 come-from-behind win over the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game set from Minute Maid Park.
Tied at 6-6 heading into the final frame, the Twins loaded the bases off Chia- Jen Lo (0-3) on an infield single from Brian Dozier and Doug Bernier and Chris Herrmann walks, leading to Colabello's blast over the wall in right.
"I think both teams went through their struggles out there," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "Ultimately, in the end the guys kept playing and battling."
Trevor Plouffe and Dozier each homered for Minnesota, with the former picking up three hits and a walk in four plate appearances. Josh Roenicke (3-1) earned the win with two scoreless innings after Anthony Swarzak, who went 4 1/3 innings in relief of Andrew Albers, struck out five and gave up just a run on three hits.
"He (Swarzak) did a really nice job of keeping us in the ball game," said Gardenhire. "He saved our bacon."
Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 despite the loss, which gives Houston six in its last seven games.
Robbie Grossman opened the home half of the first with a double to center, advanced to third on Altuve's bunt single and scored on Jason Castro's slap to left. Matt Dominguez moved Altuve to third with a fly ball to right before Chris Carter and Trevor Crowe smacked consecutive RBI-singles.
Plouffe put Minnesota on the board with a solo shot in the top of the second off Paul Clemens, who started for Houston but lasted just 3 2/3 innings after surrendering four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits.
"My offense did a tremendous job getting us out to a good lead," said Clemens. "I gotta attack. I gotta get ahead of guys and get in my favorable counts."
Houston's second inning began the same way as the first, this time with Jonathan Villar doubling to deep center and Grossman putting runners on the corners with a bunt single. The inning almost came derailed when Altuve grounded to Plouffe at third and Villar was tagged out attempting to slide back into the bag, but Castro singled home Grossman and Carter doubled in Altuve with a drive to right, chasing starter Albers from the contest.
New addition Alex Presley, who went 3-for-4 in his Twins' debut last night in a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers, gave Minnesota its second run when he scored on Darin Mastroianni's first double of the year.
The Astros came right back a half inning later. Altuve poked an RBI-single into right field with two outs and through three innings, Houston had accumulated 10 hits and led 6-2.
The Twins stayed close however, when Colabello lofted a home run into the bullpen in right. Clete Thomas followed with a bloop single in front of Brandon Barnes in center field and took second on Barnes' poor throw getting the ball back into the infield. Pedro Florimon then made it 6-4 with a single up the middle.
Dozier's 16th home run of the season made it a one run game in the fifth but the visiting Twins blew an opportunity to tie the score or take a lead later in the inning. With runners on first and second, Herrmann singled to left. Josh Willingham rounded third, but held up long enough for Villar to throw him out at home. Herrmann then got tagged out for a double play when he and Plouffe got their signals crossed and both ended up on second base.
Both offenses slowed down until the eighth inning, when the Twins tied the game off Kevin Chapman, who hadn't allowed an earned run in his first 12 major league appearances. Bernier, pinch-running for Plouffe, stood on second after Herrmann's sac bunt and scored on Florimon's RBI-single to center.
Albers was tagged for five runs on nine hits in 1 2/3 innings ... Minnesota now has 35 comeback wins this season ... Astros' catcher Castro left in the fourth inning with an apparent knee injury and was replaced by Cody Clark, who went 0-for-3 and is still looking for his first major league hit ... Altuve now has at least three hits in back-to-back games ... Houston pitching issued nine walks against seven strikeouts ... The Astros went 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position.