Twins Get to Smith, Spoil Ramirez’s Return


Jun 4, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Aramis Ramirez (16) celebrates his three-run home run with center fielder Carlos Gomez (27) and catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) against the Minnesota Twins in the 7th inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers took their four-game, interleague series to Minnesota Wednesday night. They celebrated being in an American League park by welcoming Aramis Ramirez back into the lineup and letting him sit in the designated hitter position.

Ramirez was briefly the hero of the game for the Brewers, but the bullpen couldn’t lock it down and the Twins took a 6-4 win.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 5.70 ERA) put the Brewers down in order in the top of the first. With one out in the bottom half of the frame Brian Dozier doubled off the wall in left on a mistake pitch by Brewers starter Marco Estrada (5-2, 4.03 ERA) and he seemed to be erased trying to steal third base on a nice throw by Jonathan Lucroy.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire challenged the call and Dozier was ruled safe to put a runner on third with just one out. Joe Mauer followed with a fly ball to right that looked deep enough for a play at the plate but Dozier didn’t challenge Ryan Braun and stayed at third. Josh Willingham ended the inning with a fly out to Carlos Gomez.

After quick outs to Gomez and Ramirez to open the second, Rickie Weeks smacked a double (5) down the line in left. Mark Reynolds (4) followed with a double of his own to right-center to drive in Weeks and give Milwaukee the early lead.

Estrada set the Twins down in order in the bottom half of the frame. Nolasco cruised through the top of the third for the Twins putting down Logan Schafer, Jean Segura and Braun.

Estrada had a one-two-three inning again in the bottom of the third. Lucroy led off the top of the fourth with a strike out on what looked like a foul tip that bounced, but the play was not reviewable. Nolasco set down the next two hitters in order.

Dozier walked to lead off the Twins half of the fourth inning, and reached second on a Mauer ground out. Willingham singled to move Dozier to third and put runners on the corners. Oswaldo Arcia followed by popping his third home run of the season to put the Twins up 3-1.

Plouffe followed with a long, loud fly ball over the fence leading to a replay review. It was ruled a foul ball, and Estrada picked up the strike out on the next pitch. Estrada gave up a single to Kurt Suzuki before striking out Josmil Pinto to end the inning.

Nolasco came right back to put the Brewers down one-two-three in the top of the fifth.

Eduardo Escobar led off the bottom half of the fifth with a single for the Twins. He moved to second on a Danny Santana ground out. Estrada followed the out by hitting Dozier with a pitch to put two men on. Mauer walked on four pitches to load the bases for Willingham.

Willingham also drew a walk to bring Escobar home and make it 4-1. Arcia grounded to Overbay at first, Overbay went home for the lead run to make it two down with the bases still loaded. Plouffe grounded to Reynolds at third who tossed him out to end the inning.

Nolasco cruised through the top of the sixth in order, he had put down 13 consecutive Brewers at this point. Suzuki led off the bottom of the sixth and reached on an infield hit. He advanced to second on the play on a throwing error by Reynolds. Estrada escaped the inning unscathed though as he put down Pinto, Escobar and Santana in order.

Lucroy broke Nolasco’s streak in the top of the sixth with a single to start the inning. Gomez followed with a single of his own to put two men on for Ramirez who promptly cracked a three-run home run (6) to tie the game.

After a Weeks strike out Reynolds reached on a hard hit single off the glove of Plouffe. Overbay followed with a ground out. The Brewers argued that it was off his foot, but he was ruled out. Schafer flew out to left to end the inning.

Rob Wooten came on to pitch the seventh for Milwaukee. After retiring Dozier and Mauer quickly, Willingham belted a double off the fence in right-center. That was the end of the night for Wooten as Ron Roenicke called in Will Smith.

Arcia grounded a single to right and drove in Willingham to give the Twins the lead at 5-4. Willingham was obstructed on the play by Smith moving to back up the plate, but he’d have scored anyway. Arcia moved to second on the throw.

Plouffe followed with a single of his own to bring in Arcia and put the Twins up two. Suzuki grounded out to end the inning.

Casey Fien came on in the top of the eighth for Minnesota, ending Nolasco’s night. Fien set down Segura and Braun quickly before walking Lucroy. Gomez struck out to end the inning.

Zach Duke relieved Smith and tossed the eighth for Milwaukee. He struck out Pinto and Escobar ahead of a walk to Aaron Hicks.  Dozier singled to put two on before Segura robbed Mauer of an RBI with a diving stop on a grounder up the middle and perfect throw to first.

Twins closer Glen Perkins came on to pitch the ninth. He quickly put down Ramirez and Weeks before striking out Reynolds to end the game.

Estrada went six innings for Milwaukee and allowed four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four. Wooten picked up the loss, going 2/3 of an inning and allowing a run on a hit.

Nolasco earned the win for the Twins, going seven innings and allowing four runs on six hits and no walks while striking out seven.  Fien earned a hold for pitching a scoreless inning, and Perkins picked up his 16th save of the season.

The teams will pick it up again tomorrow when Wily Peralta (4-5, 2.66 ERA) takes on Kevin Correia (2-6, 6.18 ERA).