Clutch hit spurs Twins to win over Astros

Published 1:47 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Minn. scores go-ahead run in 13th inning on hit by Dozier

MINNEAPOLIS — After watching his Minnesota Twins fumble through a mistake-filled sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, Ron Gardenhire held a lengthy pregame workout to refocus on the fundamentals and grab everyone’s attention.

Hours later, he made a big mistake of his own. But Brian Dozier and Kevin Correia bailed him out.

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Dozier’s third hit of the game scored Clete Thomas in the 13th inning to lift the Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Due to a substitution miscue by Gardenhire that caused the Twins to lose the designated hitter in the ninth inning, the manager had to go to Correia, a starting pitcher, to pinch-hit in the 13th inning. Correia, who spent 10 years hitting in the National League, bunted Thomas to second base and Dozier followed by punching a single to right field for his second RBI of the game to snap Minnesota’s four-game losing streak.

“I end up getting myself in a pickle there,” said Gardenhire, who inserted Doug Bernier as a pinch-runner for DH Chris Colabello. Gardenhire said he should’ve used Jamey Carroll as a pinch runner and then inserted Bernier as a defensive replacement at shortstop in the 10th, which would’ve allowed him to keep the DH. “I’m like, ‘What the (heck) did I do that for?’ It became entertaining.”

As the game wore on and Gardenhire ran out of bench players to hit in the pitcher’s spot, more and more starters started offering their services. Mike Pelfrey, another NL vet with the Mets, was warming up in the on-deck circle before Gardenhire put Correia in to get the bunt down.

“It’s fun,” Correia said. “We don’t get that opportunity anymore at the plate being in the American League. We’re normally sitting there just as spectators four days a week. So it’s fun to get in a game, especially if you can help your team get a win.”

The Twins trailed 3-2 entering the ninth after All-Star closer Glen Perkins gave up an RBI double to Matt Dominguez. But Dozier’s single off Chia-Jen Lo tied the game, and Dozier came through again off Dallas Keuchel (5-6) to win it with two outs in the 13th.

Ryan Pressly (3-2) pitched two innings of relief for the win.

“A much-needed win for the team,” Dozier said. “A confidence booster.”

Jarred Cosart gave up one run on five hits and struck out four in seven innings, and Dominguez had two hits for the Astros (36-72), who have the worst record in the major leagues.

It was a much needed pick-me-up for the Twins, who were reeling from a sweep at the hands of the Royals that was capped by a lackluster performance on Thursday.

Gardenhire had a long talk with his position players before a strenuous pregame workout to refocus on the fundamentals and try and grab the attention of a team that has long since faded from contention in the AL Central.

Justin Morneau had two hits, including an RBI single in the eighth that tied the game at 2 for the Twins. Joe Mauer added a sacrifice fly, and Samuel Deduno gave up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks in six innings for the Twins, who were handcuffed by Cosart for seven innings.

Cosart left with a 2-1 lead after seven innings, finally giving the Twins a chance.

The Astros are the youngest team by far in the majors, and they’re the greenest in the bullpen.

They traded closer Jose Veras to Detroit earlier this week. With no proven closer, Astros manager Bo Porter had to go to Lo, who was making his second career appearance, with a runner on second and one out in the ninth. Lo’s wild pitch allowed pinch-runner Doug Bernier to go to third, and Dozier’s single landed in front of center fielder Brandon Barnes to tie it.

Porter turned to Keuchel, who was scheduled to start on Sunday, in the 12th.

Jason Castro had two RBIs for Houston.

“We had opportunities to close it out and just didn’t get the job done,” Porter said.

NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game to rest his sore left quad. Porter said he was available to hit. … Dozier extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games with a double in the eighth. … The Twins announced that they will select the contract of LHP Andrew Albers from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday. He is scheduled to make his first big league start on Tuesday at Kansas City. … The Twins send RHP Kyle Gibson (2-3 6.21) to the mound on Saturday against Houston LHP Erik Bedard (3-8, 4.28).