HOUSTON - Astros utility outfielder Trevor Crowe can't make up for lost time, but he sure seems to be making his best effort at doing so.
Recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday, Crowe delivered his first career walk-off single, a shot to left field, to lift Houston to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Houston (46-93) salvaged the finale of their seven-game homestand when shortstop Jonathan Villar opened the ninth with a single off Twins left-hander Brian Duensing (6-2). Villar advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Crowe, who landed on the disabled list on June 20 with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, drilled an 0-1 change-up.
"It's definitely a good start," said Crowe, who finished 2-for-5 and is 9-for-22 over his last six games. "But baseball's a game of momentum and you have to stay after it every single day because one bad day and it seems like things are working against you.
"So it's a good start. I owe a lot of credit to (Astros manager) Bo (Porter). I was in a good rhythm and he put me right in the lineup and I feel like I'm still in that rhythm."
Said Porter: "It was unfortunate that we lost him for the amount of time that we lost him but he's a really good player. He's a former No. 1 pick, he's a switch-hitter that can play all three outfield positions. He's a baseball player. He understands the game."
The Twins (61-77) were seeking to complete a 6-0 season series sweep of Houston.
Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles logged his fourth consecutive start of at least six innings, discovering a groove after allowing a game-tying, three-run home run to Twins center fielder Alex Presley with one out in the third inning.
Lyles retired 11 consecutive batters after Presley won their 13-pitch standoff, departing with one out in the seventh inning when he plunked Oswaldo Arcia with a pitch with Ryan Doumit on first.
Presley fouled off six consecutive pitches before blasting a 3-2 fastball into the right-field seats for his first home run. That was the lone extra-base hit Lyles surrendered, and the Astros were quick to reclaim his lead when they scored solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks never quite steadied himself after allowing three runs on three hits in the first inning. Houston third baseman Brett Wallace doubled home Jose Altuve with the first run, and Marc Krauss followed with a bases-loaded single before Brandon Barnes added a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Wallace for a 3-0 lead.
"Today was just embarrassing," Hendriks said. "I didn't get ahead of guys, I fell behind guys, I left the ball over the plate, I left them up. Once I was ahead I was fine, but I just wasn't ahead enough, and they made me pay for it. It was embarrassing. 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. Once I was ahead, I was fine."
Crowe added an RBI single in the fourth that scored Altuve before Barnes greeted reliever Ryan Pressly with a run-scoring single in the fifth that plated Chris Carter, who singled and stole his second base of the year. Pressly recovered to work 3 2/3 scoreless innings, setting the stage for the Twins to rally against the Astros' woebegone bullpen.
Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon doubled and scored off Astros left-hander Erik Bedard (4-10) in the eighth and, still armed with a one-run lead, Bedard allowed a leadoff home run to designated hitter Ryan Doumit, his 12th of the season, in the ninth that knotted the game.
The Twins' stunted rally prevented a series sweep, but it didn't spoil what was otherwise a strong road trip.
"We just went 4-2 on this trip through Texas and then down here to Houston. That's not bad," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Sure, we'd have liked to win today, but we went 4-2. Anytime you go on a road trip and you win more than you lose, that is pretty good."
NOTES: Twins C Joe Mauer, placed on the seven-day concussion list on Aug. 20, was transferred to the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Mauer, who took batting practice at Target Field on Wednesday, has now missed 15 games. ... Astros RHP Edgar Gonzalez began a rehab assignment with Tri-City of the New York-Penn League Wednesday. Gonzalez, sidelined since May 26, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Tuesday with a right shoulder sprain.