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Brewers: Swept by Twins, Milwaukee falls into third place

August 11, 2017 GMT

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in dire straits.

The Minnesota Twins were only too happy to help this week.

Slumping Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer each had three singles and the Twins beat Zach Davies and the Brewers for the fourth consecutive game, 7-2 on Thursday night at Miller Park.

The Brewers (59-58) are 7-17 since July 16 and fell into third place in the NL Central, two games back of the idle Chicago Cubs (59-54).

The St. Louis Cardinals (59-56) moved into second place, one game back. The Pittsburgh Pirates (57-58), meanwhile, pulled one game behind the Brewers in fourth.

General manager David Stearns acknowledged the team might need to make a trade to help stop the free fall.

“I wouldn’t put it as a definite, but I certainly think it is a possibility that between now and the end of August we are able to pull something off,” Stearns told MLB.com.

The Twins, who have won five straight and are 7-3 in August, had 12 hits — 11 singles and a double — to sweep a home-and-home, four-game set with Milwaukee.

“We’re energized, and you can feel it,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “These guys are enjoying a little bit of an underdog role here and we’ve been able to put together a little bit of a run.”

Rookie Alan Busenitz (1-0) pitched 2º innings of relief for his first major league win. He was the first of four Minnesota relievers to pitch 6º innings of scoreless relief.

Minnesota starter Dietrich Enns, making his major league debut after joining the Twins organization July 30 in the trade that sent Jaime Garcia to the Yankees, lasted only 2? innings, giving up two runs, one earned, five hits and a walk.

“We get to their bullpen early and let their relievers just run through some innings far too easily,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with. Against these relievers, we’re not putting up much of a fight.”

The Brewers were outscored by the Twins over the four games by a 27-10 margin, including 11-2 in the two at Miller Park.

Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (13-6) allowed seven runs, six earned, a career-high 11 hits and two walks while striking out three in 5º innings. The right-hander struggled after allowing just three earned runs and 19 hits over 28º innings in four starts.

Mauer came into the game in a 1-for-20 slump. He went 3-for-5 with singles in the third, fourth and sixth innings.

“He comes up and gets three big hits,” Molitor said of Mauer. “Two top spots (in the lineup) were 0 for 10 but we get 12, 13 hits and score seven runs. So, there’s a lot of ways to get it done and that adds to the confidence collectively.”

Buxton was 6-for-27 since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 1. He was 3-for-4 with singles in the second, third and fifth innings.

The Twins scored three runs in the second and third innings off Davies. Minnesota strung together four consecutive hits to open the second inning to take a 3-0 lead.

Keon Broxton homered with two outs in the second, his 16th, for Milwaukee to make it 3-1. The homer snapped a 15-inning scoreless streak for the Brewers.

Mauer led off the third with a single, and the Twins had five singles in the inning to open a 6-1 lead.

Molitor pulled him after just 53 pitches. The left-hander regularly threw 85-95 pitches in his minor league starts.

Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw rejoined the team Thursday after missing a game due to personal reasons. ... Catcher Stephen Vogt (left knee strain) participated in baseball drills Thursday and is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend.

Pondering moves

Stearns cautioned the Brewers won’t make a deal as a matter of course. The move has to fit into the big picture, he said.

“For every decision, we want to make sure we’re not making change for change’s sake,” Stearns said. “When things aren’t going exactly as you would like, there’s often this push or desire to feel like you control things. Taking action puts you in a position of control, but it’s not always the best thing to do.

“We’re working on it.”

According to a report earlier this week from MLB Network, the Tigers placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on revocable waivers which were to expire Thursday afternoon.

“I know we are constantly monitoring the waiver wire,” Stearns said. “In order to make a trade in August, you either have to claim someone or have them clear, and then you have to work out a deal with the other team. There is that additional hurdle.”

The aim is to restore life to an offense that ranked fourth in the majors with 1.52 home runs per game and eighth with 4.96 runs per game while building a 5½-game lead in the NL Central before the All-Star break.

The power went out over the four-day break, though.

In their first 25 games of the second half entering Thursday’s game against the Twins, the Brewers tied for 25th in the Majors with one homer per game and ranked last with 3.16 runs per game and a .176 average with runners in scoring position.

“Whenever a team goes through a slump, I think the natural inclination is to look for causation,” Stearns said. “Players do that, coaches do that, and certainly we’re doing that, as well. In this case, we firmly believe we have talented hitters. We think these guys have shown they are talented hitters throughout the vast majority of the season.

“And we’re in a slump right now. We obviously recognize that.”

Up next

Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson (9-5) pitches when the team opens a three-game series against Cincinnati.

The Reds counter with Homer Bailey (3-6). He gave up a career-high 10 runs in only 3ª innings of a 13-4 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. In his last five starts, he’s 1-4 with a 9.24 ERA.

Minnesota AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Dozier 2b 5 0 0 0 0 2 .251

Kepler rf 5 0 0 0 0 1 .245

Mauer 1b 5 1 3 1 0 0 .273

Sano 3b 5 2 2 0 0 2 .270

Rosario lf 4 1 1 1 0 0 .287

Buxton cf 4 2 3 2 0 0 .226

Polanco ss 4 0 2 1 0 0 .239

Castro c 1 1 0 1 2 0 .225

Enns p 2 0 1 0 0 1 .500

Grossman ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 .245

Escobar ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .257

Totals 36 7 12 6 3 7

Milwaukee AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Santana rf 4 0 0 0 0 2 .274

Arcia ss 4 1 0 0 0 0 .284

Braun lf 4 0 2 0 0 1 .289

Hughes p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Shaw 3b 4 0 2 0 0 0 .292

Aguilar 1b 3 0 0 1 1 0 .263

Pina c 4 0 0 0 0 1 .284

Broxton cf 3 1 1 1 1 1 .222

Villar 2b 4 0 2 0 0 1 .216

Davies p 2 0 0 0 0 0 .086

Drake p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Sogard ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .281

Swarzak p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Thames lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 .242

Totals 33 2 7 2 2 6

Minnesota 033 001 000 — 7 12 1

Milwaukee 011 000 000 — 2 7 1

E — Enns (1), Shaw (7). LOB — Minnesota 7, Milwaukee 6. 2B — Rosario (23), Shaw (26). HR — Broxton (16), off Enns. RBIs — Mauer (43), Rosario (41), Buxton 2 (19), Polanco (37), Castro (33), Aguilar (39), Broxton (41). SF — Rosario, Castro.

DP — Minnesota 2 (Sano, Mauer), (Sano, Dozier, Mauer); Milwaukee 2 (Arcia, Villar, Aguilar), (Arcia, Aguilar).

Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Enns 21/3 5 2 1 1 0 3.86

Busenitz, W, 1-0 22/3 0 0 0 0 2 2.70

Pressly 2 1 0 0 0 1 5.58

Duffey 1 0 0 0 0 2 4.25

Boshers 1 1 0 0 1 1 3.77

Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Davies, L, 13-6 52/3 11 7 6 2 3 4.40

Drake 11/3 1 0 0 0 1 5.04

Swarzak 1 0 0 0 1 2 2.14

Hughes 1 0 0 0 0 1 3.69

Inherited runners-scored — Busenitz 3-0, Drake 2-1.

T — 3:09. Att. — 33,904.