Minnesota at Milwaukee

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Minnesota (32-44)010000100282
Milwaukee (44-35) «00003210x6100

Brewers too Braun-y as Twins lose fifth straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers insist it's way too early to start watching the scoreboard. That said, they're enjoying their three-game lead in the NL Central.

Braun extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a tiebreaking home run and the Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 Sunday.

"It means we're in a position we wanted to be in," Braun said of the lead over the Cardinals. "But ultimately it matters where we're at on Sept. 26, not June 26."

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The Brewers have not won a division title since taking the AL East in 1982. They moved to the National League in 1998 and won the wild card in 2008. With St. Louis star Albert Pujols expected to be on the disabled list with a broken left wrist for at least six, the Brewers hope to widen their lead.

The Brewers were the only team in the division to win on Sunday.

"It's definitely better than a no-game lead," slugger Prince Fielder said with a big smile.

The Brewers had dropped seven of 10 before trouncing the Twins in the three-game interleague series.

"I don't think we ever lost confidence in any way," Braun said. "You just continue to go out there and continue to compete. Sometime you play against good teams and they are going to beat you, but if we continue to go out there and play the same way we're going to win a lot of games."

Braun connected for a two-run shot in the fifth inning. Chris Narveson (5-5) helped himself with an RBI double.

The punchless Twins, using a watered-down lineup decimated by injuries, have scored only eight runs in losing five consecutive games.

"I don't really care," Fielder said. "That's the team that's out there, so we have to try and beat them. Fortunately, we had a good series."

Jonathan Lucroy had a triple, a double, a walk, scored two runs and had an RBI for Milwaukee, which swept the three-game series and has won four of five.

"It's so far to go," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "Maybe with a month left or something I'll start.

"I know how fast things can change in one month," he said.

Carl Pavano (5-6) blanked the Brewers the first four innings, but allowed five runs with two outs over the next two innings to lose for the first time in five June starts.

"I gave up those runs with two outs," he said. "That's tough to swallow."

Narveson allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings against a Twins starting lineup that had combined for only 22 homers this season, one more than Fielder.

Narveson scattered five hits and two walks while striking out seven to win for the third time in four starts.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the second when Danny Valencia singled and scored on Jason Repko's single.

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs against Pavano in the third, but Braun flied out to end the inning.

In the fifth, Braun came through.

Lucroy opened the inning with a triple down the left-field line. Two outs later, Nyjer Morgan singled to tie it at 1. Pavano threw to first in an effort to keep Morgan close to the bag, but the ball went off Luke Hughes' glove for an error, allowing Morgan to advance to second. Braun hit the next pitch over the center-field wall for his 16th homer.

In the sixth, Milwaukee scored twice more off Pavano with two outs. Yuniesky Betancourt singled and scored on Lucroy's double. Narveson doubled down the left-field line for his second extra-base hit in 105 major-league plate appearances, scoring Lucroy for a 5-1 lead.

"Ugly ball game for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Make mistakes and they end up killing you all the time. We made too many of them today."

Minnesota scored its second run off Narveson in the seventh. Hughes walked and scored on pinch-hitter Jim Thome's RBI single, moving the 40-year-old past Ernie Banks into 28th on the all-time RBI list with 1,637.

Twins reliever Jose Mijares allowed another hit to Fielder in the seventh that gave the Brewers a 6-2 lead, two nights after getting into a dispute with catcher Joe Mauer over pitch selection. Mijares complained after Friday night's game that he wanted to throw a slider to Fielder, but Mauer called several fastballs and the big first baseman hit one for a game-winning double.

With Braun on second Sunday, Fielder came to the plate and Mauer called for the slider. Fielder promptly sent it into center field for an RBI single to make it 6-2.

Notes

  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer would begin taking grounders at first base when the team returns to Minnesota this week so the team could have more options to get him in the lineup. Mauer did not start Sunday, but pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game.
  • Twins OF Jason Kubel, out since May 31 with a sprained left foot, is expected to undergo a workout Monday, and then likely will be sent on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Rochester. Gardenhire said Kubel likely will play seven games at Rochester before returning to the Twins.
  • Pavano's strikeout of Fielder in the fifth was the 1,000 of the right-hander's career.
  • After Thome collected the RBI hit, LHP Brian Duensing pinch-ran for him.
  • It was the seventh time the Twins have been swept this year after being swept only four times all of last season.
 
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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Ryan Braun rounds third after hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning against the Twins. (Getty Images)
Ryan Braun rounds third after hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning against the Twins. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

R. Braun
AB 4
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Milwaukee

C. Narveson
IP 6.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 2
K 7
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ben Revere, CF4010010 .272
Alexi Casilla, 2B4000023 .251
Michael Cuddyer, RF-1B4010020 .292
Danny Valencia, 3B4110011 .216
Luke Hughes, 1B3100111 .246
    Glen Perkins, P0000000 .000
Jason Repko, LF4011021 .194
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS4020001 .200
Drew Butera, C1000101 .175
   a- Joe Mauer, PH-C2010002 .200
Carl Pavano, P2000011 .000
   b- Jim Thome, PH1011000 .244
    Brian Duensing, PR0000000 .000
    Jose Mijares, P0000000 .000
    Alex Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Rene Tosoni, RF1000001 .182
Totals34282210  
a-lined out for Butera in the 7th
b-singled for Pavano in the 7th
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (16, Narveson)
3B - Danny Valencia (1, Narveson)
RBI - Jason Repko (7), Jim Thome (13)
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome (7)
SB - Jason Repko (3, 2nd base off Narveson/Lucroy)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Alexi Casilla (8, Throwing), Luke Hughes (3, Missed catch of throw)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Carl Pavano (L,5-6) 6855151 4.24
Jose Mijares 0.1110010 4.08
Alex Burnett 0.2000020 5.64
Glen Perkins 1100110 2.03
IBB - Weeks by Glen Perkins
HBP - Morgan (by Carl Pavano)
WP - Carl Pavano (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 102-69, Jose Mijares 10-9, Alex Burnett 9-7, Glen Perkins 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 5-8, Jose Mijares 1-0
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 28, Jose Mijares 3, Alex Burnett 2, Glen Perkins 5
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rickie Weeks, 2B4000124 .290
Nyjer Morgan, CF3111010 .330
   a- Carlos Gomez, PH-CF1000002 .220
Ryan Braun, LF4212003 .308
Prince Fielder, 1B4011020 .305
Casey McGehee, 3B4000011 .227
Corey Hart, RF4010021 .271
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4130001 .241
Jonathan Lucroy, C3221101 .281
Chris Narveson, P2011001 .167
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
    Kameron Loe, P0000000 .000
   b- Josh Wilson, PH1000011 .219
    John Axford, P0000000 .000
Totals34610629  
a-fouled out for Morgan in the 8th
b-struck out for Loe in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jonathan Lucroy (8, Pavano), Chris Narveson (1, Pavano)
3B - Jonathan Lucroy (1, Pavano)
HR - Ryan Braun (16, Pavano)
SH - Chris Narveson (5)
RBI - Nyjer Morgan (13), Ryan Braun 2 (59), Prince Fielder (68), Jonathan Lucroy (33), Chris Narveson (2)
2-OUT RBI - Nyjer Morgan (7), Ryan Braun 2 (15), Jonathan Lucroy (17), Chris Narveson (1)
SB - Ryan Braun (17, 3rd base off Mijares/Mauer), Yuniesky Betancourt 2 (2, 2nd base off Pavano/Butera, 2nd base off Perkins/Mauer)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Axford-Betancourt-Fielder
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Narveson (W,5-5) 6.2522270 4.42
LaTroy Hawkins (H,8) 0.1100010 0.46
Kameron Loe 1000010 4.78
John Axford 1200010 2.55
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Narveson 108-68, LaTroy Hawkins 5-4, Kameron Loe 14-9, John Axford 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Narveson 6-7, Kameron Loe 2-0, John Axford 1-0
Batters Faced - Chris Narveson 27, LaTroy Hawkins 2, Kameron Loe 3, John Axford 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41624
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - John Tumpane, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Dan Bellino