Twins give up big lead but sweep Milwaukee with a win in 14 innings

The Twins outlasted two Miller Park sausage races and eight Brewers pitchers but eventually came away with a 6-5 victory in 14 innings.

– It might have been the worst way to end a three-city road trip: two sausage races.

The Brewers hold their longtime costumed contest in the sixth inning of home games, but trotted it out again in the 12th because neither the Twins nor the Brewers could score a run.

The Twins outlasted two sausage races, two seventh-inning stretches and eight Brewers pitchers but eventually came away with a 6-5 victory in 14 innings.

It was their longest game, in innings played, since last June 17, when they beat the Brewers in 15 innings at Target Field.

The Twins took both games of the interleague series at Miller Park and head home — for two more against the Brewers — having won three of their past four games.

That is comforting to a team that began the nine-game road trip with five consecutive losses to extend their season-worst losing streak to 10 games, had two players suffer concussions and were nearly no-hit Friday in Detroit.

“You kind of expect it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after everything that has happened on the road trip. “You know what? It’s a good win. You come in here and win two. Now we are going back to our place.

“We’re playing a little bit better. That game was a little wild but a lot of good things happened and we’ll take it from there.”

Aaron Hicks led off the 14th with a ground-rule double and was expertly bunted to third by Pedro Florimon. Eduardo Escobar, pinch hitting for pitcher Ryan Pressly, hit a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Hicks to score.

Hicks homered and stole a home run from Carlos Gomez in the game.

“Both teams threw it out there,” Gardenhire said. “They just about used everybody and so did we. And we kept getting after it. Some big plays made, some not-so-big plays made. That’s what kind of happens in a game like that. In the end we got a big double by Hicksie, got him over and got him in.”

Escobar watched from the bench for 13 innings before being sent to the plate in the 14th, but he was ready.

“I got an opportunity, so it’s my chance,” Escobar said.

The Twins had a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. With closer Glen Perkins on the mound, the Brewers mounted a rally that began with pinch hitter Jeff Bianchi getting hit by a pitch with one out and eventually scoring on Jean Segura’s RBI single.

Segura, the shortstop the Brewers received from the Angels as part of a package for Zack Greinke, has made the trade look lopsided. He went 6-for-7 on Tuesday, tying a Brewers record for most hits in a game.

Perkins entered the game having converted 10 of his 11 save opportunities, but the game was heading into extra innings.

The Twins got the leadoff hitter on base in the 10th and 12th but failed to score. Florimon led off the 12th with a walk and was bunted to second. The drive stalled there when Joe Mauer struck out with two on to end the inning.

The Twins had taken a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning. Brian Dozier hit a one-out single to center off Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler, then Mauer and Josh Willingham drew walks. Justin Morneau lofted a fly ball to left that allowed Dozier to score the lead run.

Ryan Doumit, Willingham and Hicks homered as the Twins took a 4-0 lead. Hicks also robbed Gomez of a home run in the second, leaping and reaching over the center field wall before crashing to the ground.

“I gotta work on my dismount,” Hicks said.

Gomez was nearing second and tipped his helmet to Hicks after he made the catch.

The Brewers scored three runs in the third, then tied it in the fourth on Ryan Braun’s RBI triple off Twins starter Scott Diamond, which knocked him out of the game.

The Twins return home for a five-game homestand still lacking consistent offense and outings that go longer than five-plus innings. The schedule is a little more favorable, as their next three series come against teams with losing records. When they do run into a winning team — the Washington Nationals on June 7-9 — it’s one that has underachieved for the most part.

So there’s an opportunity for the Twins to calibrate their game over the next several days before they run into a couple of the top-tier teams again.

“There’s a lot of pressure on our pitching staff and our offense to get going at the same time,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game.

Now after he needed nearly all of his players to win Tuesday, he’ll really need people to answer the bell on Wednesday.

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