The Twins will take a victory any way they can get one.
Monday night, they committed three errors, left 11 men on base and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Numbers like those usually lead to defeat, but fortunately for them, Milwaukee was worse.
The Twins, down three runs early, fought back for the second consecutive game and won 5-4 when Eddie Rosario’s jitterbug off third base coaxed a balk out of righthanded reliever Oliver Drake. An announced crowd of 31,339 at Target Field provided a raucous atmosphere as several thousand Brewers fans showed up for first of four games between the border rivals.
Those Brewers fans had plenty to cheer about until the seventh inning, when the Twins scored the tying and go-ahead runs. The Twins, who came back from five runs down vs. Texas on Sunday, earned their first back-to-back victories since July 6-7 against Baltimore.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there, early, with some of the miscues and things we’re been able to avoid for the most part,” manager Paul Molitor said. “They took advantage.
“We hung in there. A lot of good at-bats.”
Eduardo Escobar led off the seventh by drawing a walk off Drake, one of seven issued by Milwaukee. Rosario then hammered a pitch to right that Domingo Santana had little chance of catching but still broke the wrong way on. Escobar scored to make it 4-4.
Byron Buxton then sacrificed Rosario to third, but Ehire Adrianza popped up the next pitch for the second out.
With the lefthanded- hitting Jason Castro up, Milwaukee shifted three infielders to the right side of the infield, and with third baseman Travis Shaw well off the base, Rosario took a good lead. When the count got to 2-2, Shaw moved closer to where a shortstop normally would play, freeing Rosario to do as he pleased.
Drake first stepped off the rubber, but after he got back on it, Rosario again began bouncing down the line. Drake flinched, leading to a balk call from plate umpire Bill Welke that enabled Rosario to score.
Molitor said they try to teach baserunners to pester pitchers when the third baseman is well off the bag.
“They gave him a lot of room with the shift formation, and he was able to give him a little bit of a false start there and were got a little bit of a buckle,” Molitor said. “And the guys were paying attention. It was kind of an exciting way to add that fifth run on.”
It made a winner off Buddy Boshers, with Ryan Pressly pitching the eighth and Matt Belisle getting the ninth for his second save in as many games.
Jorge Polanco went 4-for-4 with two RBI, giving him eight hits in five games in August after having just four in 17 games in July. Castro reached four times and the Twins rallied after giving the Brewers two unearned runs.
Milwaukee opened the scoring on Keon Broxton’s 435-foot homer in the third. An inning later, Ervin Santana hit Domingo Santana with two outs to put a runner on, and Ryan Braun then reached when his routine grounder was mishandled by Polanco.
Shaw singled to center to score one run, and Braun was right behind him after Buxton misplayed Shaw’s hit.
It was 4-1 in the fourth when the Twins put five consecutive batters on base with two out. Polanco’s two-run double — the Twins’ only hit with a runner in scoring position — pulled his team within 4-3, and the Twins’ 27th come-from-behind win was underway.
“It was big time,” Ervin Santana said of his team’s rally. “It was the right time and the right moment. They did what they were supposed to do.”