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Associated Press, Published September 02 2013

Colabello's grand slam propels Twins to victory

HOUSTON – Minnesota rookie Chris Colabello admitted he was putting too much pressure on himself as he struggled through a terrible offensive skid.

Once he settled down, he started to feel better at the plate, and on Monday he broke out of his slump in a big way.

Colabello homered twice, including a tiebreaking grand slam in the ninth inning, to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 10-6 win over the Houston Astros.

It was 6-all before Chia-Jen Lo (0-3) allowed a single to Brian Dozier with one out in the ninth. Doug Bernier and Chris Herrmann drew two-out walks on full-count pitches before Colabello hit the next pitch into the bullpen in right-center.

It was the first career grand slam for the 29-year-old Colabello, who ended a 0-for-23 skid with a single on Sunday. He spent years playing Independent League baseball before signing with the Twins last season.

“Having spent as much time as I did in (independent) league ball I wanted to impress people,” he said. “Any time you get into a new environment you want to go out and impress people every day and you kind of get yourself out of your element and things get a little out of character there. When you do that, it’s very hard to be yourself.

“The biggest goal for a hitter is to go out and be yourself,” he continued. “Trust your approach. Trust what you do. Believe in what got you here and then go from there. Today was a good step in that direction.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire was impressed with his performance on Monday.

“That was pretty nice swings driving the ball,” he said. “That’s a big day for him; we needed it.”

The Twins trailed 5-1 after two innings, but chipped away at the lead with the help of solo homers by Trevor Plouffe, Colabello and Dozier. A two-out RBI single by Pedro Florimon tied it in the eighth.

Plouffe tied a career high with three hits and Dozier’s home run gives him 16 this season, which ties a franchise record for a second baseman.

Minnesota Houston

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Presley cf 3 1 0 0 Grssmn lf 4 2 2 0

Mstrnn rf-lf 5 0 1 1 Altuve 2b 5 2 4 1

Dozier 2b 4 2 2 1 JCastro c 2 1 2 2

Wlngh dh 4 0 0 0 Clark pr-c 3 0 0 0

Plouffe 3b 3 1 3 1 MDmn 3b 5 0 0 0

Brnr pr-3b 0 2 0 0 Carter 1b 4 0 2 2

CHrmn c 3 1 2 0 Crowe rf 4 0 1 1

Colaell 1b 5 2 2 5 BBarns cf 4 0 1 0

Thoms lf 2 1 1 0 Hoes dh 4 0 0 0

Dmit ph-rf 1 0 0 0 Villar ss 2 1 1 0

Flormn ss 4 0 2 2

Totals 34 10 13 10 Totals 37 6 13 6

Minnesota 011 210 014— 10

Houston 321 000 000— 6

E—B.Barnes (3), Villar (7). DP—Houston 3. LOB—Minnesota 7, Houston 7. 2B—Mastroianni (1), Grossman (14), Carter (19), Villar (6). HR—Dozier (16), Plouffe (13), Colabello 2 (6). SB—Florimon (13), Altuve (31), Villar (12). CS—Plouffe (1), B.Barnes (8), Villar (6). S—C.Herrmann.

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

A.Albers 1Xc 9 5 5 0 2

Swarzak 4Zc 3 1 1 2 5

Roenicke W,3-1 2 0 0 0 1 2

Fien 1 1 0 0 0 1

Houston

Clemens 3Xc 7 4 3 3 0

Harrell 1Zc 3 1 1 1 1

Fields H,6 2 0 1 1 2 2

Chapman BS,2-3 1 1 0 0 1 2

Lo L,0-3 1 2 4 4 2 2

Fields pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

T—3:32. A—14,287 (42,060).