Twins 9, Astros 6 (12 innings)

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Having blown a three-run lead in the ninth inning, the Minnesota Twins rallied for three runs in the top of the 12th and outlasted the Houston Astros 9-6 Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Minnesota rallied against Astros rookie left-hander Kevin Chapman (0-1), who set a club record by starting his career with 13 appearances without allowing an earned run. The Twins snapped that streak when Clete Thomas scored on a wild pitch before Darin Mastroianni added a two-run double that brought home Josmil Pinto and Doug Bernier.
Twins right-hander Josh Roenicke walked two batters in the bottom of the 12th, but earned his first save by getting Matt Pagnozzi to ground out to short. Pagnozzi was acquired by Houston earlier Tuesday in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.
Houston (45-93) has lost seven of eight.
Entering the ninth with a three-run lead, Twins closer Glen Perkins coughed it up. With two outs, he hit Brett Wallace with a pitch before allowing a single to L.J. Hoes and a three-run home run to Brandon Barnes -- all with two outs. Barnes' blast went the opposite way to right and came on an 0-2 pitch.
In the seventh, Barnes cut the Twins' lead to 4-3 with a two-out, two-run single to right field off right-hander Casey Fien.
Minnesota (61-76) immediately rebuilt its three-run lead in the eighth, with Pinto scoring on an Alex Presley double and Presley on a Mastroianni sacrifice fly that followed a Cody Clark passed ball.
Astros rookie right-hander Jarred Cosart had an outstanding ERA over his first eight career starts, but the unusually low batting average against him on balls put in play (.250) and his bloated walk rate (12.8 percent) were cause for concern.
The Twins put his minuscule ERA to the test by extending Cosart deep into counts. He surrendered a two-run home run to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier on a 3-2 count in the first inning, and then allowed a two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe in the third one batter after Josh Willingham worked a four-pitch, two-out walk.
Cosart needed 53 pitches to record six outs, and, by the close of the fourth inning, he trailed 4-1 and had 90 pitches on his ledger. Cosart allowed eight baserunners, so it wasn't a surprise when right-hander Lucas Harrell emerged from the Houston bullpen to open the fifth.
Twins left-hander Pedro Hernandez was making what amounted to a spot start, and he was outstanding. The homer he gave up to first baseman Chris Carter in the second inning was the only extra-base hit Hernandez allowed in his six-inning performance. He allowed two runs.
NOTES: Tri-City won its division in the New York-Penn League on Tuesday and became the sixth Astros affiliate to clinch a postseason berth. That figure represents a franchise record, and Houston is the first organization to have six domestic affiliates qualify for the postseason since the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003. ... Twins RHP Anthony Swarzak entered Tuesday leading all major league relievers with 86 1/3 innings. His innings total is the most for a Twins reliever since Matt Guerrier pitched 88 innings in 2007. He wasn't one of the seven Minnesota pitchers who appeared in Tuesday's game.

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