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Baker, Twins top Brewers to complete three-game sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A slight change in mechanics allowed Scott Baker to stand taller in more ways than one.

Baker pitched into the ninth inning, Justin Morneau hit a grand slam, and the Minnesota Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with a 6-3 victory Sunday night.

Baker (2-5) allowed seven hits and struck out six in 8 1/3 innings for his first win in three starts since May 8. He worked closely with pitching coach Rick Anderson since allowing four earned runs in five innings last Tuesday in Chicago.

"We worked on mechanical adjustments so that I could be more consistent down," Baker said. "Sometimes it's like a light switch - it just clicks sometimes, the ball's coming good out of the hand and everything's down. It's really not part of the thought process anymore."

Expected to be the ace of the Twins' young staff, Baker had allowed nine earned runs and 12 hits in his previous two starts. He allowed at least five earned runs in four of his previous seven starts, and at least four earned runs in six of seven.

Baker said the primary change was simply standing taller and not collapsing on his back side.

"It's something I've always kind of had to battle, kind of had to fight to stay consistent down in the zone. [Anderson] knows us really well and sees when we need to make the adjustment."

Prince Fielder hit a two-run shot in the ninth to end Baker's night.

"I was hoping he could finish that off, he's been through a lot and he's been battling," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "What a performance by him stepping up in a big situation like that and finishing off a sweep."

In addition to Morneau's slam, Joe Mauer and Joe Crede also homered for Minnesota, which has scored 43 runs in its last four games.

With an effective breaking ball setting up a fastball that darted in and out, Baker kept the ball down in this one, and retired 11 in a row after allowing a home run to Mike Cameron in the fourth inning.

With the homer, Cameron became the 20th player in major league history to have 250 home runs and 250 steals. He has 291 career steals.

"It kind of reminds me of all the times people tell you that you [stink]," said Cameron, who first came up with the White Sox in 1995 and is with his sixth team. "I can look back and say that I'm in very select company. It's special."

If he puts swings on the ball like he did in the seventh inning to break the game open, Morneau will be at that home run mark in a year or two.

Leading 2-1, Morneau put Milwaukee away with a grand slam into the upper deck in right field. It was his fifth career slam. He has 146 career home runs.

Morneau's homer off Mitch Stetter came one pitch after Stetter hit Mauer in the right wrist with a pitch. Gardenhire had an animated discussion with plate umpire Adrian Johnson after the pitch, before the umpire saw the ball hit Mauer and not his bat.

"I didn't know what was going on and I started walking back to the on-deck circle because I thought he was telling Joe to go back and hit," Morneau said. "I just went up there. I wasn't thinking about anything. It probably helped me."

Mauer, who improved his batting average to .438, homered in the first off Dave Bush (3-1) and singled in the third. He has 10 home runs this month.

"Making pitches to Mauer is one thing. He still hits them out," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "The next at-bat, he threw him some curveballs, some good ones, and the guy gets a base hit. This guy's locked in."

Crede hit his third homer in four games in the fourth, but left with a bruised right hand in the seventh. The third baseman was hit in the hand by a pitch from Bush in the bottom of the sixth. He stayed in the game in the top of seventh, but left after an out was recorded. He walked off the field while opening and closing his hand in a fistlike motion and went straight to the team's clubhouse. He's listed as day-to-day.

Notes

  • Bush allowed five hits, but a season-high four walks in 6 2/3 innings.
  • The Twins have won 14 of their last 15 interleague games.
  • Minnesota LF Delmon Young went 0-for-3 after missing nine games while on the family emergency medical list.
  • Milwaukee 3B Bill Hall went 0-for-3 and was 1-for-28 on the nine-game road trip.
  • Minnesota has hit four grand slams this year, including one by Mauer last Thursday in a 20-1 win at Chicago.
  • The Brewers did not walk for the first time since May 1.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combine for five RBI as the Twins complete the series sweep.  (AP)
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combine for five RBI as the Twins complete the series sweep. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Minnesota

S. Baker
IP 8.1
H 7
ER 3
BB 0
K 6
 
Milwaukee Brewers
Craig Counsell, SS4010001 .314
Casey McGehee, 2B4110011 .300
Ryan Braun, LF4010001 .333
Prince Fielder, 1B4112001 .270
Mike Cameron, CF4111020 .286
Corey Hart, RF4010030 .245
Mat Gamel, DH3000001 .250
Mike Rivera, C3010010 .333
Bill Hall, 3B3000011 .224
Totals3337308  
Batting
2B - Corey Hart (11, Baker)
HR - Prince Fielder (10, Baker), Mike Cameron (9, Baker)
RBI - Prince Fielder 2 (42), Mike Cameron (22)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Cameron (10)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Counsell-McGehee-Fielder, Counsell-McGehee-Fielder
Milwaukee Brewers
Dave Bush (L,3-1) 6.2544442 3.92
Mitch Stetter0122001 4.15
Carlos Villanueva 0.2000110 4.15
Mark DiFelice 0.2000010 1.31
HBP - Crede (by Dave Bush), Mauer (by Mitch Stetter)
Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 116-66, Mitch Stetter 5-2, Carlos Villanueva 13-7, Mark DiFelice 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 9-5, Carlos Villanueva 1-0
Batters Faced - Dave Bush 28, Mitch Stetter 2, Carlos Villanueva 3, Mark DiFelice 2
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF4110010 .224
Joe Mauer, C3221000 .438
Justin Morneau, DH3114101 .343
Michael Cuddyer, RF3000101 .287
Joe Crede, 3B2121000 .240
    Matt Tolbert, 2B1000011 .193
Brian Buscher, 1B2000211 .200
Brendan Harris, 2B-3B4000002 .255
Delmon Young, LF4000032 .264
Nick Punto, SS2100100 .186
Totals2866656  
Batting
HR - Joe Mauer (10, Bush), Justin Morneau (13, Stetter), Joe Crede (8, Bush)
RBI - Joe Mauer (29), Justin Morneau 4 (40), Joe Crede (21)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau 4 (12)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Buscher-Punto
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (W,2-5) 8.1733062 6.32
Joe Nathan 0.2000020 2.76
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 106-71, Joe Nathan 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 5-13
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 31, Joe Nathan 2
Game Information
Attendance - 38959
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Charlie Reliford