HOUSTON -AP- On a day when Houston's powerful hitters were lagging, the Astros found a way to generate runs in another way.
Mike Fiers struck out a season-high 11 over seven strong innings and Nori Aoki had two hits and two RBI to help the Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Sunday.
The AL West leaders took two of three from the Twins coming out of the All-Star break.
Houston trailed in the fourth before Yuli Gurriel doubled, Marwin Gonzalez walked and Aoki hit a two-run double for a 3-2 lead.
Fiers strikes out 11 as Astros beat Twins 5-3
The Astros added a couple of insurance runs in the seventh thanks to alert baserunning. Jake Marisnick walked, stole second base and scored on an error by first baseman Kennys VargasJose Altuve doubled, stole third and dashed home when Josh Reddick was thrown out at first on a third strike that got away.
"We were dragging a little bit today," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We couldn't quite get a ton going ... we haven't been as active on the bases as we can be, but it shows that when we needed to win a game in a different way than we've won in the last couple months we've still got that weapon."
Twins manager Paul Molitor lamented his team's inability to handle Houston's running in the seventh.
"They made some really aggressive plays and put some pressure on us, and we couldn't stop them," he said.
Fiers (6-4) allowed two runs on four hits and no walks. He had walked eight combined in his last two starts.
"The key right there is command," he said. "When you can command all your pitches any pitch feels really confident going out there. Just command and keeping them off balance and just making good pitches. Even if they're sitting on a pitch if you throw it in the right spot it's still hard to hit."
Ken Giles gave up a run in the ninth for his 20th save.
Vargas and Ehire Adrianza hit solo homers for Minnesota. Kyle Gibson (5-8) yielded four runs in six-plus innings.
Vargas gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with his shot to right-center in the second. The Astros tied it in the bottom half on singles by Alex Bregman, Aoki and Marisnick.
Adrianza put the Twins back on top when he hit his first homer of the season in the third.
Robbie Grossman singled with two outs in the third before Fiers retired six in a row. Adrianza singled with two outs in the fifth, but he was picked off at first to end the inning and Fiers didn't allow another baserunner before he was replaced by Chris Devenski to start the eighth.

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