After losing 11 of 12 games, the Twins needed a slump buster. And the interleague gods presented the Brewers.
There’s no question who’s the better team in the Upper Midwest this season, after the Twins used a middle-inning power surge Thursday to beat Milwaukee 8-6 at Target Field. The Twins swept the four-game, two-city series between the clubs and have won five of their past six games.
Four consecutive postgames with music thumping in the clubhouse.
“It’s deflating when you are not shaking hands,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “To come back out, get some wins and put them back to back to back to back, that’s pretty cool.”
Twins righthander P.J. Walters pitched six innings to improve to 2-0 since being called up by the club last week. Actually, the game was set up for him to pitch longer, after the Twins took a 6-0 lead through five innings. But he gave up three runs with two outs in the sixth and failed to retire a batter in the seventh when he was pulled.
Still, Walters and righthander Samuel Deduno, who were called up from Class AAA Rochester last week, have won three of four starts between them to give the Twins rotation a needed shot in the arm. Deduno pitched into the eighth inning on Wednesday.
And spirits have lifted around Twins Way after the club found a team it can dominate.
“It’s a totally different vibe, I’ll be honest with ya,” said second baseman Brian Dozier, who hit one of the Twins’ four homers.
The Twins even let the Brewers wear home whites at Target Field. The teams wore uniforms from 1948 when they were members of the American Association. The Twins decided to wear the road uniforms because those read “St. Paul.” The teams turned back the clock — and the Twins turned on the power.
Chris Parmelee opened the scoring with a solo home run to right in the third inning off Kyle Lohse, facing his former team for the first time since being traded in 2006. Dozier and Joe Mauer kicked off the fourth with back-to-back home runs, the first time they have done that since Aug. 17 of last season at Seattle. Three batters later, Ryan Doumit hit a two-run homer to right-center for a 5-0 lead. It was the first time the Twins hit three home runs in one inning since Aug. 6 at Cleveland.
Mauer added an RBI single in the fifth to make it 6-0.
Walters gave up a bases-loaded triple to Jordan Schafer in the sixth that cut the Twins’ lead in half and got the few thousand Brewers fans among the announced crowd of 32,688 on their feet.
The teams traded runs the rest of the way until the Twins bullpen shut the Brewers down. Ryan Pressly got two outs in the eighth and Jared Burton picked up his second save of the season by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth as closer Glen Perkins got the night off.
The Brewers are 5-22 this month. If they lose at Philadelphia tomorrow, they will set a club record for fewest wins in May.
The Twins, meanwhile, have survived their slump and have plenty of momentum as Seattle comes to town this weekend.
“I can get used to this winning,” Dozier said. “I promise you that.”