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Mistakes doom Houston Astros in 4-2 loss to Minnesota Twins

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HOUSTON - The Houston Astros were done in by their mistakes in Monday night's 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

An error allowed a run to score in the fourth inning, and the Twins added another one in the ninth when Astros rookie left fielder Domingo Santana held onto the ball for several seconds before throwing it in.

"Those are two high-leverage (plays)," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "One being an error, the other being a mental error ... you have to make those plays to win major league baseball games."

Joe Mauer had two hits in his return from the disabled list, including a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning, to help the Twins to the win.

A pair of walks by Josh Fields (2-5) put runners at first and second with two outs in the ninth when Mauer hit a ground single to left field to score Jordan Schafer. Brian Dozier also scored on the play, and Mauer reached second when Santana made his miscue.

"I just panicked," he said. "I was just trying to throw the ball to the cutoff man, but I just panicked."

Mauer, who doubled in the third inning, extended his hitting streak to 13 games in his first game since missing 34 with a strained muscle on his right side.

Brian Duensing (3-2) got the last two outs of the eighth inning for the win, and Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his 29th save.

Chris Carter and Jose Altuve both had solo homers for Houston, and Jake Marisnick had a career-high four hits. Carter connected for his 26th homer to make it 2-2 in the fifth inning. He leads the majors with 13 homers since July 1.

Tommy Milone allowed eight hits and two runs in his debut with the Twins after being traded from Oakland for Sam Fuld on July 31.

Houston starter Brad Peacock allowed seven hits and two runs in five innings.

Eduardo Escobar was at third with two outs in the fourth when an error by Peacock on a pickoff attempt at first base allowed him to score and make it 2-1. First baseman Jon Singleton crashed into first base umpire Bill Welke and knocked him to the ground as he chased the ball. Welke was OK but got up slowly and kept trying to brush the dirt off his uniform for more than an inning.

Porter understands that a young team is going to make mistakes, but that doesn't make them any less frustrating.

"I think it's part of the process," he said. "But at the same time to me that's basic. Picking to first base and having the ball in your hand in the outfield and throwing it to the cutoff man, that's basic."

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first on Plouffe's fielder's choice.

The Astros tied it in the bottom of the inning on Altuve's homer.

Santana's tough start to his major league career continued on Monday as he was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He is 0 for 17 with 14 strikeouts this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Minnesota: RHP Ricky Nolasco (elbow) made his second rehabilitation start for Class A Cedar Rapids on Sunday, and manager Ron Gardenhire said that he should make his next start for the Twins.

Houston: OF Alex Presley (strained right side) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with short-season Class A Tri-City on Tuesday. Presley expects to come off the DL sometime during Houston's upcoming road trip to Boston and New York.

UP NEXT

Houston's Collin McHugh opposes Yohan Pino when the series continues on Tuesday night. Pino is looking for his first win since July 10. McHugh will try to snap a six-game skid.

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