Mauer homers as Gibson shuts down Houston
Kyle Gibson scattered six hits over 7 2/3 innings to outduel Brett Oberholtzer as visiting Minnesota took the rubber match of a three-game series from Houston.
Gibson (11-9) cruised through the first seven innings scoreless and ended up charged with one run while striking out four and walking a pair. Joe Mauer belted a solo home run in the sixth, Danny Santana had four hits and Kennys Vargas added a two-run single for the Twins, who have won three of four.
Oberholtzer (4-8) was reached for one run and six hits while striking out four in seven innings to suffer his first loss in more than a month. Chris Carter singled in a run in the eighth to extend his streak of at least one RBI to seven straight games as the Astros fell for the third time in four games.
Mauer led off the sixth inning and sent a 2-2 fastball from Oberholtzer into the Houston bullpen in right-center to snap the scoreless draw and record his first home run since May 3. The Astros put the first two on in the seventh but Gibson induced a double play and got Jake Marisnick to fly out ending the threat.
Minnesota earned some breathing room in the eighth when right-hander Josh Fields came on in relief and loaded the bases on a single, double and intentional walk. Vargas followed with a single to left-center to plate two and Casey Fien recorded the final out of the eighth after Carter's RBI single before Glen Perkins worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 30th save.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Houston CF Dexter Fowler (intercostal strain) returned from the DL and singled in the sixth but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. ... Astros 2B Jose Altuve went 1-for-4, missing out on his 52nd multi-hit game when he was called out on a close play at first base in the third inning that was challenged and upheld. ... The Twins open an 11-game homestand against Kansas City on Friday while the Astros head to Boston on Thursday to begin a 10-game trip.