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MIN@HOU: Doumit ties the game with solo shot in ninth

HOUSTON -- Brian Duensing gave up a walk-off single to Trevor Crowe in the ninth as the Twins fell to the Astros, 6-5, on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

The defeat marked Minnesota's first to Houston after winning the first two games of the series and five in a row this season. The Twins settled for a 4-2 road trip after taking two of three from the Texas Rangers.

"That's not bad," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the two-step through Arlington and Houston. "Sure, we would have liked to have won today. But any time you go on a road trip and you win more than you lose, that's good."

With the Twins trailing, 5-4, entering the ninth, Ryan Doumit tied it with a leadoff homer against Erik Bedard into the left-field seats.

"We had chances," Gardenhire said. "There at the end, they just got it done, got the big hit."

Duensing came out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning, but a sacrifice bunt was the only out the lefty recorded. Duensing lost for only the second time this season against six wins.

"Things had been going pretty well up until today, and even yesterday was kind of rough," Duensing said. "I just didn't execute right there at the very end, and they did what they were supposed to -- put the ball in play and got runners in scoring position and drove them in. You tip your hat to them."

Crowe said he went to the plate expecting a battle.

"I know there was a base open, and I had faced Duensing in the past and had some success. So I thought with a left-hander behind me, he was probably going to pitch me pretty tough," said the Astros' left fielder. "I was just looking offspeed."

Twins starter Liam Hendriks struggled, giving up three runs on three hits in the first inning. A walk and an error extended the frame and allowed the Astros to push across a pair of unearned runs while taking a 3-0 lead.

"Our starter wasn't very good -- bad pace, got behind in the count the whole time," Gardenhire said. "It was just not a very good effort by him on a lot of pitches."

Hendriks went 4 1/3 innings, throwing 98 pitches. He allowed at least one hit in every inning.

"Today was just embarrassing," Hendriks said. "I got behind guys. I left balls up. Once I was ahead, I was fine. I just wasn't ahead very often, and they made me pay for it.

"I got lackadaisical and just wasn't myself. I need to get back to getting ahead early and keeping the ball down."

Hendriks said he felt good in the bullpen warming up before the game.

"In the first inning, I was keeping the ball low, for the most part," Hendriks said. "I just left a couple of balls up that they hit hard. That's not good enough."

Alex Presley evened things up at 3-3 in the third inning with his first homer in a Twins uniform. Presley drove a 3-2 pitch from Astros starter Jordan Lyles into the right-field seats, scoring Chris Colabello and Chris Herrmann.

"Presley has had some really good at-bats, that one in particular," Gardenhire said.

Lyles said he didn't want to walk Presley in that situation, leading 3-0, but instead got a little bit too much of the plate.

"You're just trying to make the next pitch go over the plate," Lyles said. "He's pretty much seen everything you have up to that point, so hopefully he rolls over it or pops it up, but he put a good swing on it and put the ball on the barrel."

Lyles retired the next 11 batters in a row before Doumit opened the seventh inning with a single. Lyles went 6 1/3 innings, giving up just four hits while striking out four, walking one and hitting a batter.

Hendriks appeared headed for a 1-2-3 fourth inning. But after retiring the first two batters, he yielded a double to Jose Altuve, followed by a RBI single to Crowe, and the Astros regained the lead, 4-3.

Hendriks left the game in the fifth inning after giving up a leadoff single to Chris Carter, who stole second base and moved to third on a groundout to the right side of the infield.

Ryan Pressly, one of only two pitchers in the Twins' bullpen who did not see action on Tuesday, was greeted with a run-scoring single by Brandon Barnes that extended the Astros' lead to 5-3. The run was charged to Hendriks, and Pressly proceeded to keep the Astros scoreless over the next three innings, allowing just one additional hit, while the Twins chipped away. Pressly's 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief marked the fifth time this season he had gone three or more innings without allowing a run.

Pedro Florimon made it a one-run game in the eighth. Leading off the frame with a double, the Twins' shortstop reached third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Darin Mastroianni.

"We had chances," Gardenhire said. "There at the end, they just got it done, got the big hit."

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