MINNEAPOLIS -- Handing the ball to lights-out closer Devin Williams with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Brewers seemed primed to end their losing streak on Tuesday night at Target Field.
Then, the unexpected happened. Michael A. Taylor homered off Williams -- just the second homer the right-hander had allowed all season -- to open the frame. Williams walked Edouard Julien, and pinch-runner Willi Castro stole second base before scoring on a single by Donovan Solano.
In a flash, the Brewers’ lead was gone. Carlos Correa capped the Twins’ comeback with his first career regular-season walk-off homer -- a two-run blast that gave Milwaukee a 7-5 loss.
“We’re grinding,” Williams said. “Handed me a two-run lead in the ninth, that’s the way you draw it up. It was my first blown save this year, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time, to be honest with you. So I don’t think there’s anyone that could be more disappointed than myself after tonight.”
Williams (3-1) was a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities heading into Tuesday. He had given up one run -- a homer to the Giants' Thairo Estrada on May 7 -- in 21 2/3 innings this season. Opponents were hitting just .110 (8-for-73) against him.
It was the first time in his MLB career that Williams, who entered Tuesday with 11 homers allowed in 177 innings, had surrendered two in a game. He allowed just two across 65 games (60 2/3 innings) all of last season, when he was a first-time All-Star.
Minnesota's unlikely rally extended Milwaukee’s woes.
The Brewers lost their fifth straight game coming off being swept at home by the Oakland A’s. But Tuesday’s loss was as improbable as any, when giving their All-Star closer the ball with the lead.
“I know it doesn’t happen, but it’s going to happen,” manager Craig Counsell said. “You got the game where you want it and the guy that has done it every time this year.”
The Brewers couldn’t help but feel snakebit.
“It happens,” said outfielder Christian Yelich, who tallied three hits and a season-high four RBIs and homered for the second straight game. “It happens to everyone. [Williams has] been a huge reason why we’ve won a ton of games. Unfortunate tonight, but it’s just one of those things. When you’re in kind of a tough stretch, that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Earlier, Yelich’s night -- when he drove in four runs after plating two in his previous 21 games -- supported another strong start from Corbin Burnes. Burnes struck out eight and allowed three runs in six-plus innings, but he was chased from the game after Kyle Farmer homered to lead off the seventh.
Hoby Milner, Elvis Peguero and Joel Payamps kept Minnesota off the board with two scoreless innings of relief to set up Williams.
The four-run comeback happened in just 14 pitches.
“He’s one of the best in the game, and he’s been known for his changeup for a while now,” Correa said of Williams. “So yeah, it’s not easy to put together at-bats like that, but we did it.”
Williams said he wasn’t as sharp as usual, so he had to pitch more in the zone.
“Yeah, I feel fine,” Williams said. “Just didn’t have my stuff today, you know? As much as you strive for it, you’re never going to be perfect. So, you know, it’s one of those days.”