- Associated Press - Sunday, June 8, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - After three straight 100-loss seasons, the Houston Astros’ lineup is suddenly filled with sluggers who can change a game with one swing.

Chris Carter and Jon Singleton hit their first career grand slams to power Houston to a 14-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Carter’s slam in the seventh inning sailed over the limestone overhang in right field and gave Houston a 9-3 lead. Singleton lined a fastball off Glen Perkins over the right-field wall that made it 14-5 in the ninth.

Dexter Fowler and George Springer also homered for the Astros. Houston has now hit 69 homers this season, well on pace to surpass last season’s total of 148, third-worst in the American League.

“It puts more strain on the opposing pitchers,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “They feel like, ‘I can’t make a mistake here, I can’t make a mistake here.’ That can drain on a staff.”

The only other time two Astros players hit grand slams in the same game was July 30, 1969, at New York when Denis Menke and Jimmy Wynn both hit slams in an 11-run ninth inning against the Mets.

Houston players are also sensing a different vibe now that the lineup is filled with more power.

“It’s been fun. We like playing off of each other,” Singleton said. “That’s definitely a bonus. When one person does well, it carries over and it’s contagious.”

Darin Downs (1-0) got the last eight outs as the third reliever to follow starter Colin McHugh, who fanned six and allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings. He walked five and was removed after throwing 101 pitches.

Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham hit RBI singles as Minnesota made it 5-3 in the fifth, but couldn’t get any closer before Carter and Singleton powered the game away.

Houston batted around in the fourth inning, scoring three runs after Samuel Deduno (2-4) loaded the bases with nobody out by walking two batters and hitting another.

The Astros have won seven of eight on the road and 11 of their last 15 overall as they try to snap a three-year streak of losing 100 games.

It was the third time in club history Minnesota allowed two grand slams in the same game. The last time it happened was April 22, 1988, in Cleveland.

“They got us today,” Perkins said. “I think they swing hard in case they hit it, and they hit them today. Theyre not as bad as people think they are. Gotta give credit to them the way they swing the bat and pitch the ball pretty well.”

The Twins also officially signed free-agent designated hitter/first-baseman Kendrys Morales on Sunday to bolster their inconsistent offense.

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