HOUSTON (AP) — Brett Olberholtzer came out on the short end of a pitchers’ duel.
The Astros’ left-hander pitched seven strong innings, allowing six hits and one run on a homer by Joe Mauer, but it wasn’t good enough against Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins beat Houston 3-1 on Wednesday.
“He did a tremendous job, and offensively we didn’t swing the bats. So he ends up being the tough luck loser,” Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Mauer hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field bullpen off Oberholtzer (4-8) to make it 1-0. He extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first inning single.
“I’d like to have that back,” Oberholtzer said of the pitch Mauer hit out. “Hindsight’s 20-20 but it’s a two-two count and I challenge there with nobody on to start the inning and he made me pay for it.”
Chris Carter’s RBI single in the eighth for the Astros cut the lead to 3-1.
“I felt like I pitched pretty well tonight and gave the team a chance to win,” Oberholtzer said. “We weren’t able to put runs on the board. Gibson did pretty well over there tonight. He had his stuff going.”
The Twins’ right-hander was dominant, allowing six hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings on Wednesday.
Gibson struck out four, walked two and took a shutout into the eighth.
“It’s never too frustrating when you win a game but I definitely wanted it that’s for sure,” Gibson said. “That last inning I knew every pitch was important to keep the pitch count down and be able to go back out there for the ninth.”
Gibson (11-9) was well under 100 pitches going into the inning and nursing a 3-0 lead thanks Mauer and a two-run RBI single in the seventh by Kennys Vargas.
“I was sitting right there with him,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “I said `If he gets through the eighth inning under 100 pitches we let him go back out there and take a shot at it. He’s earned that.’ Unfortunately they got a run on him and we had to get him out of there. I was thinking right along with him. I thought he was in control of the game.”
Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his 30th save of the season.
Astros: First baseman Jesus Guzman will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Guzman was placed on the 15-day disabled list August 3rd with back spasms.
Twins: Ricky Nolasco is on schedule to make his first start since going on the disabled list July 8th after a second successful rehab outing August 10th. Gardenhire said after the game that right-hander Anthony Swarzak sprained his ankle on the last pitch of Tuesday 10-4 Astros win. The manager said the pitcher is day-to-day.
Astros: Scott Feldman will look to extend his August win streak to three against Boston Thursday against Red Sox right-hander Allen Webster.
Twins: After two rehab starts, Nolasco is scheduled to come off the disabled list Friday to face Kansas City and will be looking for his third win against the Royals in 2014.
MAUER AND OBERHOLTZER CONTINUE STREAKS
Mauer’s hitting streak is one shy of his career high of 16. Oberholtzer’s streak of quality starts is four.
FOWLER RETURNS TO LINEUP
Dexter Fowler was back in the Astros lineup for the first time since June 26th and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a single. The club optioned Domingo Santana to Triple-A to make room for his return.