MINNEAPOLIS -- The Milwaukee Brewers tailed off after a torrid start, but they're still a first-place team -- and beginning to play more like they did in April and early May.
Dave Bush stopped a personal six-start winless streak, pitching the Brewers past the Minnesota Twins, 5-2 on Saturday night.
Bush (4-6) baffled the Twins with slow curveballs into the seventh inning, Bill Hall hit an RBI double, and Corey Hart broke the game open with a two-run single.
"It feels good to go out there and shake hands the day you pitch," said Bush, who gave up five hits and two walks. He struck out four and was charged with two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Matt Wise, Derrick Turnbow and Francisco Cordero -- who recorded his majors-leading 25th save in his 27th try -- preserved the Brewers' fourth straight victory since Justin Verlander threw his no-hitter against them for Detroit. That delighted the delegation of Milwaukee fans among the announced crowd of 37,117.
Since starting 24-10, the Brewers are only 14-20, but the NL Central's weakness and the NL's best home record kept them on top. They're playing better on the road though now, with five wins in their last six, and Saturday's game featured a rare victory by Bush and a couple of rallies without the aid of the long ball they like to use so much.
"You can't hit a home run all the time," Hall said. "Sometimes you've just got to be able to manufacture some runs."
Joe Mauer's RBI triple in the seventh wasn't nearly enough for Minnesota. Boof Bonser (5-3) threw 6 1/3 innings himself, but took the defeat with five hits, four runs and two walks while striking out seven.
"We've got to find a way to score some runs and take some pressure off our pitching staff," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Bush gave the Brewers' rotation a big boost, with Chris Capuano recently getting hurt and top prospect Yovani Gallardo summoned to replace him. Gallardo was put on bullpen standby this weekend in case a starter was knocked out early, but if he's not needed in relief he'll be able to take the mound Monday.
Manager Ned Yost scoffed at the suggestion that Gallardo's presence -- though he was brought up to fill in for Capuano -- put any pressure on Bush to hold onto his spot.
"We know what type of competitor Bushy is," Yost said. "We know what kind of worker Bushy is."
Bush was in control of the Twins' lineup that has yet to find a rhythm this year, clearing a big hurdle when Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau started the sixth with singles. Bush struck out two of the next three batters, the first when he had Torii Hunter way out in front of a 70-mph curve.
Jason Bartlett singled in the seventh and scored on Mauer's soaring triple against Wise that bounced off the big blue bag behind right field.
Bartlett's groundout in the fifth after Lew Ford was grazed by a pitch and Nick Punto blooped a double over third baseman Ryan Braun's head accounted for Minnesota's only other run.
"We didn't really make any adjustments throughout the game," Morneau said, "and he just kind of did what he wanted."
Dennys Reyes allowed an unearned run in the eighth inning when second baseman Luis Castillo committed only his second error this season, a wild relay throw that allowed Johnny Estrada to score and make it 5-2.
The Twins were frustrated by Bonser's last start, a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals in which he overcame a couple of jams to complete five innings but put 11 men on base.
He was better in this one, so much so that he called it his best start of the year.
J.J. Hardy gave Milwaukee the game's first run by reaching on a fielder's choice grounder that drove in Damian Miller. Starting there, Bonser got outs on 10 of the next 11 batters until Prince Fielder drove a double down the right-field line. Hall did the same to give the Brewers the lead again, and they added to it in the sixth.
Bonser lost control of a breaking ball that hit Miller, and No. 9 hitter Craig Counsell crushed a double to bring Gardenhire out of the dugout. Then Hart stroked reliever Matt Guerrier's first pitch into left field for a 4-1 Milwaukee advantage.
"That's the whole season: We win four in a row, we lose three in a row," Morneau said. "Right when we feel we're going to get on a roll, it kind of turns bad and we have trouble scoring runs."
Mauer ended an 0-for-13 slide with his triple. He is 5-for-30 with two RBI since he returned last week from his leg injury. ... Brewers RH reliever Elmer Dessens, on the DL since May 24, felt discomfort in his strained shoulder and cut short his simulated game Saturday afternoon. Second baseman Rickie Weeks, however, has nearly recovered from tendinitis in his wrist and could be back by Monday.