Twins make Brewers look like wall-bangers of old
Milwaukee turned the first game of the Border Battle into a Brewers Bash.
Kyle Gibson was knocked around early and often, and Twins hitters befuddled by Brent Suters craftiness as they lost to Milwaukee 8-3 on Friday. The Twins gave away 10,000 Border Battle T-shirts before the game, shirts that may be used to check the engine oil by the end of the weekend if the Twins continue their uneven play.
And they might have to play the next few games without first baseman Joe Mauer. Mauer grounded out twice before leaving the game after the top of the fifth inning due to neck tightness. The Twins announced a couple innings later that Mauer is considered day-to-day.
Jesus Aguilar hit two home runs andfor the Brewers as the Twins lost for the fourth time in their past five games. Suter limited the Twins to one run over 5⅔ innings.
Max Kepler was the lone bright spot on offense, driving in three runs with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and a two-run home run in the eighth.
The bigger issue is the Twins inability to put together a complete game. Offense is the problem one day, baserunning another, then pitching another.
Before Fridays game, second baseman Brian Dozier admitted that the club has not played to its potential.
It has definitely not happened, he said. Wish I could give you a reason why. Some people going through funks, some people are locked in. Once we get more guys locked in, then the lineup will start to flow better.
There was no flow on Friday, either, as Twins hitters could not make solid contact against Suter, who rarely reached 90 mph with any of his pitches. He made the ball dart, duck, dive and dodge past the Twins bats during his 5⅔ inning outing, giving up just one run on five hits and one walk.
The Twins have scored 11 runs over their last five games.
Meanwhile, Kyle Gibsons brief run of solid starts came an abrupt halt. Ji-Man Choi, called up from the minors to start on Friday, homered to center in the second inning to open the scoring.
Milwaukee added three runs in the third, two coming on an Aguilar blast down the left field line that landed well into the second deck.
The Brewers Jonathan Villar led off the fourth with a single and eventually came around to score during a double play to put Milwaukee ahead 5-0. The Twins got the sacrifice fly from Kepler in the sixth to finally get on the board. But Aguilar hit his second homer of the game in the seventh to put the Brewers ahead 6-1 and Lorenzo Cain dropped an RBI single down the right field line in the eighth to give them a 7-1 lead. It was the second straight game and fourth time this month the Twins have given up at least seven runs in a game.
Keplers home run came in the eighth off of Brewers lefthander Boone Logan.
Gibson, 1-2, entered the game with a 2.66 ERA over his past four starts. He had pitched at least six innings in three of those four outings while holding opponents to a .165 batting average.
Things were much different on Friday, as Gibson, over 5⅓ innings, gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks with five strikeouts. He got in front of hitters but had trouble finishing them off. Five Brewers batters reached base after Gibson got two strikes on them.