Monday, June 09, 2014
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Astros power past Twins

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[June 09, 2014]  MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Carter's grand slam with one out in the seventh inning broke the game open. Jon Singleton's grand slam in the ninth inning made history.

The Houston Astros, powered by a pair of grand slams, blasted the Minnesota Twins 14-5 Sunday in the final game of a three-game series at Target Field.

For both Carter and Singleton, the slams were the first of their career. The two in one game was only the second time in franchise history it has happened, and the first since July 30, 1969.

"It was good to see the offense break out today," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "We needed every last one of them. Give the Twins credit, they wouldn't go away."

Houston built a 5-0 lead through its half of the fourth inning, but watched the Twins chip away at the lead, pulling to within two after back-to-back RBI singles by third baseman Trevor Plouffe and left fielder Josh Willingham in the bottom of the fifth made it 5-3.

But the Astros got to Twins lefty Brian Duensing to start the seventh, getting a double a walk and a bunt single to load the bases in front of designated hitter Carter, who smashed a 2-1 fastball the opposite way 390 feet over the right field wall for his 10th homer of the season.

"It's exciting to get the first one," Carter said. "It's been a lot of at-bats and a lot of chances. I think it's been like three years, at least (in Triple A) since I hit one. Worked out for me this time."

For Carter, it was the 58th career big-league home run in his 1,023rd at-bat. Singleton didn't have to wait nearly as long, getting his first slam on his second career homer and 25th career at-bat after making his major league debut last Tuesday.

In the ninth, a single, an error and a hit batter loaded the bases for first baseman Singleton against Twins closer Glen Perkins, who hit his second home run of the season to nearly the same spot in right as Carter did.

"It's great anytime we can get a 'W,' Singleton said. "I'm just here to help our ball club win."

Minnesota scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh and had two on with one out, but Astros left-hander Darin Downs got out of the jam with a foul out and a three-pitch strikeout to end the threat. Downs (1-0) earned the win, pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Houston took advantage of wild outing from Twins starter Samuel Deduno, who struggled with his control all day. Deduno went only three-plus innings, walking four and hitting a pair of batters, allowing five earned runs in taking the loss. He dropped to 2-4.

"They're pretty good, but I didn't make good pitches," Deduno said. "If I make my pitches, throw strikes and get my movement with the fastball, I think I can be pretty good. But today, I didn't have anything."

Astros starter Collin McHugh wasn't much better, walking five over 4 1/3 innings, but he did a better job limiting the damage. He allowed three runs on three hits but also struck out six, including one to escape a two-on, two-out jam in the third.

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Deduno was in trouble in each inning he worked, escaping the first thanks to a 4-6-3 double play with two on and one out. He wasn't as lucky in the second, when after a walk and a stolen base to left fielder Robbie Grossman, catcher Carlos Corporan drove in a run with an RBI single.

"He really fought it out there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "High pitch count, ball was going all over the place. Didn't look like he had much command of anything. You're hoping he's going to figure it out and at least get you to the fifth inning. It wasn't going to work out too well. He scuffled."

Center fielder Dexter Fowler led off the third inning with a solo homer over the right field wall to make it 2-0 before Deduno issued a pair of walks and hit a batter to start the third before being lifted. Twins righty Anthony Swarzak entered and allowed back-to-back RBI singles to shortstop Jonathan Villar and Fowler and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Jose Altuve to close the book on Deduno.

Twins right fielder Eduardo Nunez hit a solo home run to left, his second of the season, to get Minnesota on the board in the fourth. A sacrifice fly by Willingham and an RBI double by Nunez plated two more for the Twins in the seventh, but Astros right fielder George Springer got one back in the eighth, leading off the inning with his 12th homer.

NOTES: The loss was Minnesota's first this season in a series-deciding game (7-1). ... It was the third time in franchise history the Twins allowed two grand slams in one game and the first since April 22, 1988. ... Twins 1B/DH Kendrys Morales was activated and in uniform Sunday for Minnesota, the same day he signed a one-year, prorated $12 million contract with the team. ... Twins RF Oswaldo Arcia, who sustained a sprained right ankle Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers, was in the starting lineup as the DH Sunday. ... Entering Sunday, the Astros have won the final game in seven of their last nine series, including wins against three American League Central teams. ... Houston recalled LHP Rudy Owens from Triple-A Oklahoma City, optioning RHP Paul Clemens to Triple A. Owens arrived in Minneapolis before the game.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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