Twins slammed by Brewers
MINNEAPOLIS — Geoff Jenkins hit a grand slam and Prince Fielder added a two-run shot to power the Milwaukee Brewers to a 11-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
The victory extended Milwaukee’s win streak to three games, its first three game winning streak since reeling off six in a row from May 4-9.
The Brewers, who were the victims of a no-hitter by Detroit’s Justin Verlander on Tuesday, are showing signs of returning to the form that saw them go 24-10 to start the season. Since then, Milwaukee is 13-20, but still maintains a comfortable lead in the NL Central.
Before Jenkins homered, the Twins grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout from Mike Redmond.
Twins’ starter Scott Baker (1-2) cruised through the first three innings before hitting a wall in the fourth.
After Ryan Braun and Fielder singled to start the inning, Baker struck out Bill Hall. The right-hander had two strikes on Johnny Estrada before hitting him to load the bases.
Jenkins, who entered the game with 15 hits in his last 80 at-bats, followed with a grand slam over the baggie in right field. The veteran outfielder finished 3-for-5.
Estrada also went 3-for-4 for Milwaukee, which had 15 hits.
Baker was pulled with two outs in the fifth after Hall lined a two-run double to left to give Milwaukee a 6-1 lead.
The Twins tried to chip away at the lead and Brewers’ starter Claudio Vargas (5-1). Jason Kubel cut the lead to four with a solo homer in the fifth and Justin Morneau added an opposite-field home run the next inning.
But Fielder squashed any hopes of a comeback in the seventh with a 409-foot home run off the Twins’ AL Central championship banner in right-center field. The blast prompted a small contingent of Brewers fans in the Metrodome to begin chanting "MVP! MVP!"
Vargas pitched six innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out five, for the win.
Brian Shouse pitched three perfect innings for his first save of the year.
Baker, who was pitching for the first time in 10 days after having his spot skipped in the rotation, has struggled since beating the Brewers on May 19 after being called up from Triple-A. Since that win, he is 0-2 with a 9.63 ERA.
Baker yielded six runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings on Friday.
Before Friday’s game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Baker needs to "fit in now" as the Twins (33-32) are approaching a difficult portion of their schedule. If he doesn’t fit in soon, possible replacements in the rotation include prospect Matt Garza or former starter Ramon Ortiz.
Notes: Jenkins’ grand slam was the fourth of his career. ... Twins second-baseman Luis Castillo entered the game hitting .382 against righties, the best in the majors. ... Entering Friday, the Brewers had scored 44.6 percent of its runs by way of home runs, second most in baseball. ... Before Fielder’s home run off reliever Ortiz in the seventh, the Twins bullpen had not allowed a run in 15 1-3 innings.