HOUSTON – The Minnesota Twins twice clawed their way back into Wednesday's game against the Houston Astros. Once they fell behind a third time, it was simply too late for another chance.
Trevor Crowe hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning that lifted the Astros over the Twins 6-5.
"We kind of hung in here, kind of got back in the game, and they came up with the big one at the end, and we didn't," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Jonathan Villar singled to start the ninth and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Altuve. Crowe's line drive to left field off Brian Duensing (6-2) allowed the speedy Villar to score easily, giving Houston its first win in six tries against Minnesota this season.
"I just didn't execute right there at the end, and they did what they were supposed to," Duensing said.
Ryan Doumit's leadoff home run in the ninth against Astros reliever Erik Bedard (4-10) tied it at 5.
Minnesota was down 3-0 after a three-run first inning by the Astros before tying it on a three-run shot by Alex Presley in the third. It was Presley's first homer since being acquired from Pittsburgh in the trade for Justin Morneau.
Pedro Florimon doubled to open the eighth and scored on a groundout by Darin Mastroianni as the Twins closed to 5-4.
Before tying it, Minnesota squandered a chance in the seventh when Chris Herrmann grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
"We had chances, but there at the end, they just got it done," Gardenhire said.
Brandon Barnes had two RBIs, and Chris Carter and Brett Wallace added two hits apiece for Houston.
Minnesota starter Liam Hendriks yielded eight hits and five runs in 4 1-3 innings, leaving him with just one win in six starts this season.
"It was embarrassing," said Hendriks. "I got lackadaisical out there, and I just wasn't myself. I have to get back to getting ahead early, and keeping the ball down."
Houston starter Jordan Lyles allowed four hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings.
An RBI double by Wallace put Houston up 1-0 in the first inning. Carter walked before Wallace barely scored on a single by Marc Krauss to make it 2-0, and Barnes added a sacrifice fly.
Presley came out on top of a 13-pitch at-bat in the third, coming back from an 0-2 count before hitting a tying home run to right field.
"He has had some really good at-bats, in particular the one today with the three-run homer," Gardenhire said. "Presley is doing fine. We are just having fun watching these kids play."
Jose Altuve doubled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Crowe's single for a 4-3 lead.
Carter led off the fifth with a single, then the 6-foot-4, 245-pound slugger took second on his second steal this season. Barnes' single off reliever Ryan Pressly pushed Houston's lead to 5-3.
NOTES: Krauss was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and was Houston's designated hitter. ... The Twins are off on Thursday before opening a 10-game homestand with a three-game series against Toronto. ... The Astros open a four-game series with Oakland on Thursday when Houston's Brad Peacock opposes Sonny Gray. ... Minnesota All-Star C Joe Mauer, who has missed 16 games after sustaining a concussion, is scheduled to take batting practice at Target Field on Wednesday ... Astros All-Star C Jason Castro was out of the lineup for the second straight game after spraining his right knee on Monday. Manager Bo Porter said he is still sore and that he isn't sure when he'll return. ... Astros 3B Matt Dominguez also missed a second consecutive game because of a stomach illness.