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HOU@CWS: Cosart fans four, holds White Sox to one run

The Twins rallied late to come back and defeat the Astros, 10-6, on Labor Day at Minute Maid Park thanks to Chris Colabello.

Colabello hit a first-pitch grand slam in the ninth off Houston reliever Chia-Jen Lo to break a tie in the ninth inning.

Minnesota might need more of that late-inning magic with how the Astros starters have been going recently.

"Our starting pitching has been pretty much solid the whole year," said manager Bo Porter, who's rotation sports a 3.81 ERA over its last 13 games. "We had that one-month period where it was really down and the bullpen got taxed. For the most part, our starting pitching has kept us in the game or kept us in position to win games."

None of the pitchers in the rotation, however, have been more impressive than rookie Jarred Cosart.

Despite going winless over his past seven starts, the 23-year-old has a sparkling 1.59 ERA since making his debut on July 12th. That is the lowest ERA by a starter in his first eight starts since the Cardinals' Shelby Miller posted 1.39 mark between 2012-13.

Last time out, Cosart went toe-to-toe with White Sox ace Chris Sale, limiting Chicago to a single run over six innings on the mound.

"I was hoping to give up no runs, but I knew I was going to have to give up one run or less to try and keep my team in the game," said Cosart, who didn't factor into the decision.

Toeing the rubber for the Twins will be rookie Pedro Hernandez.

The left-hander has been rehabbing a strained left forearm since July, and will be making his first start in the Majors since June 23.

Astros: Castro injury leaves Houston short on catchers
Monday's injury to Jason Castro has complicated an already thin position for the Astros.

If the 26-year-old catcher is forced to miss any time, Houston would likely have to make some moves with just one healthy backstop on its 40-man roster.

Castro would join Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi, both of whom are on the 7-day disabled list for concussions, leaving only Cody Clark available.

Castro was pulled from Monday's 10-6 loss in the second inning with a right knee sprain, the same knee he had ACL surgery on two years ago.

The 26-year-old All-Star is in the midst of a career season, hitting .282 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs, while setting career highs in games played (117) and at-bats (426).

Prior to the setback, it was originally assumed that Corporan's impending return from the DL would naturally add to Houston's depth behind the plate. Like most teams, the Astros had hoped to use three catchers in their rotation with the expanded September rosters to keep everyone fresh and healthy.

However, Corporan's return was still in flux as despite having increased his daily activity he has yet to pass his baseline tests to return.

Twins: Mauer close to a return but date still uncertain
Joe Mauer continues to make progress in his recovery from a concussion he suffered during an Aug. 19 game vs. the Mets.

Mauer hasn't had any setbacks as he continues to ramp up his workouts and hit off of a tee.

The 2009 American League MVP suffered the injury when he was hit by a foul tip while catching.

While the progress is certainly positive, a return date is still undetermined at this point.

"He's doing great," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Everything is going really good. He's done everything they've asked without setbacks. But will he be available when we get home? I don't know."

The Twins return to Minnesota on Friday to face the Blue Jays, and although that's probably the best-case scenario for Mauer, general manager Terry Ryan isn't expecting to see him behind the plate just yet.

"It's probably a tad early, but that would be ideal," Ryan said. "It's premature and wrong of me to say that [he'll return Friday]. But he's doing better."

Worth noting
• The Twins are making their first visit to Minute Maid Park in over seven years. Minnesota last played in Houston for a three-game series June 20-22, 2006. The Twins would go on to win that series, 2-1.

• Minnesota is 16-7 vs. the AL West, and 44-69 against the rest of the Majors. Comments