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Twins rally for 6-4 win over Astros

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- On a perfect Saturday night for baseball at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins came from behind for the second straight game and beat the Houston Astros 6-4.

"(You just) never give up and keep playing -- keep playing nine innings," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the rally.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm with the fans -- just fantastic. They keep packing this place and keep you motivated. It's fun to come back. But it's nice to get leads where you don't have to worry about every pitch every second. We'll take him however we can get them -- a win is a win."

Lucas Harrell relieved Astros starter Eric Bedard in the seventh inning with Houston leading 4-3. Clete Thomas led off with a double to left. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Doug Bernier and then scoring the tying run on Brian Dozier's double -- his second extra base hit of the game.

"(He's an) aggressive player, has a lot of confidence in what he's doing," Gardenhire said of Dozier. "He led off the game with a triple. A lot of guys might have stopped at second, but he's playing aggressive -- he went on and got to third, which was huge."

After two walks, Ryan Doumit singled to center to score Dozier and give the Twins a 5-4 lead. At first glance, it looked as though center fielder Brandon Barnes could have dived for the ball, but he pulled up and it dropped in.

"Brandon Barnes is one of the better center fielders in our game," Porter said. "I completely trust his judgment. It's one of those things where if doesn't catch it probably isn't going to get caught."

Oswaldo Arcia walked with the bases loaded to give the Twins a 6-4 lead.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson was far from perfect. He was gone after giving up four runs and nine hits in three innings. But Anthony Swarzak came in to right the Twins' ship.

"A little tough for Gibby -- 81 pitches in three innings," Gardenhire said. "He just didn't command the strike zone again. They were jumping on first pitch when he did throw it over. It's all about locating with him and working ahead in the count. Just a tough day for him."

Swarzak pitched three innings of almost-perfect relief, issuing only a walk and striking out five, to give the Twins a chance.

"Swarzy was the star of the game for us," Gardenhire said. "He came in and gave us three big innings -- especially after we played 13 innings last night. That was huge to pick us up."

Bedard wavered in the early innings, giving up three runs, but shut down the Twins through six innings. Bedard threw 104 pitches and gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six.

"I think he did a great job," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Bedard. "Whenever you give up a leadoff triple, it's almost like you pitch the rest of the way like that guy at third doesn't' exist. If you start trying to not give up that run, you end up giving up four runs."

The Astros banged out 10 hits in the game, but outside of the third inning, they weren't able to produce in the clutch.

Brian Duensing pitched the seventh and picked up the win. Casey Fien shut Houston down in order in the eighth and Glen Perkins followed suit in the ninth for his 26th save.

"It's very frustrating," Porter said of the loss. "But at the same time, it's one of those things were no is going to feel sorry for you. It's going to take the men in this clubhouse and the staff here to get it straightened out. Every man to himself, looking into the mirror and saying 'I need to do a better job.'"

NOTES: Coming into the game, the Minnesota bullpen ranked second in the American League with a 2.98 ERA, allowing one earned run in their last 14 innings pitched. ... The Astros' 17 combined home runs from their catchers are tied for first in the AL with Toronto -- and five behind the club record of 22. ... Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon tweaked his left wrist before the game in batting practice. He is day to day as a starter but was available to pinch run.
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