The Astros were down to the final strike of their final out in the bottom of the ninth inning trailing Minnesota by three runs, before Brandon Barnes hit a dramatic three-run home run on a 0-2 count to send Astros fans at Minute Maid Park cheering and the game into extra innings.
“It’s what we’ve been doing all year, we’ve been fighting,” said Barnes, who had three hits and five RBIs. “We’ve been on the wrong side of games but we fight. We battle, we’re young.
“And we’re still learning. It definitely gave us some momentum.”
But momentum doesn’t win games as the Astros (45-93) found out on Tuesday. The Twins scored three runs in the top of the 12th inning off Kevin Chapman (0-1) to beat the Astros 9-6 in a game which lasted four hours, 18 minutes.
It was a game in which Houston never led and it was a game in which a couple of reliable Astros pitchers struggled and relievers Lucas Harrell and Josh Zeid came up big.
Houston starter Jarred Cosart came into the game with a 1.59 ERA and Chapman had set a franchise record by not allowing an earned run in his first 13 major league appearances.
Chapman (0-1) took the loss. In one inning the left-hander allowed three earned runs and three hits with two walks. Cosart needed 90 pitches and only lasted four innings, allowing four earned runs and five hits with his ERA reaching 2.13.
“Today I fell behind some hitters and it’s kind of how it went,” said Cosart. “I have to forget about this and bounce back and get ready for Seattle and work on some stuff.
“I got to stay in the zone. In Chicago I threw a lot more off-speed pitches for strikes in the zone and today, in even counts I was throwing breaking balls that I couldn’t throw for strikes.”
Harrell, who has struggled for most of the season, was superb, pitching three scoreless innings in relief of Cosart. Josh Zeid also threw three scoreless innings from the ninth to the 11th.
“They picked me up where I didn’t have my best stuff today,” said Cosart.
Chris Carter hit his team-leading 27th home run in the second inning that cut the deficit to 2-1. But it didn’t have the impact as Barnes’ homer off Glen Perkins. Barnes’ seventh homer of the season was a low liner to right field.
“I was just looking for a fastball up and he gave me three fastballs,” said Barnes. “I felt like I was on them other than the second swing which was pretty bad, but he just left it up.
“I knew it had a really good chance. I was out of the box I was running and saw it go over, I was pretty excited.”
For Minnesota, Trevor Plouffe had a career-high four hits and Josmil Pinto had four hits. Plouffe and Brian Dozier each hit homers off Cosart. Darin Mastroianni had three of Minnesota’s 16 hits, including a two-run double off Chapman in the 12th inning.