Braun, Lind blast off, lift Crew to series win
MILWAUKEE -- Mike Fiers pitched seven quality innings before Ryan Braun and Adam Lind hit two-run home runs in the eighth to lift the Brewers to a 5-3 win over the Twins on Sunday at Miller Park.
After Fiers and Minnesota's Tommy Milone dueled through six scoreless innings, the teams traded runs in the seventh inning before the Brewers broke through in the eighth. Braun and Lind connected against Twins reliever Casey Fien, who had not surrendered a home run in his previous 12 appearances since April 29. Braun's go-ahead blast made it 3-1, and Lind's loomed large when the Twins' Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Francisco Rodriguez, who got a game-ending strikeout of Brian Dozier with the tying runner on base.
The Brewers spoiled Paul Molitor's first visit as Minnesota's manager while capping a 4-2 homestand against the Mets and Twins that featured Milwaukee's second and third home series victories this season.
Fiers allowed one run in a seven-inning no-decision, and reliever Will Smith picked up the win after pitching a scoreless eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dozier's defense: Twins starter Tommy Milone retired 12 Brewers batters in a row before allowing a two-out walk to Braun and a line-drive double down the left field line to Carlos Gomez in the sixth inning. With Braun and Gomez on second and third, Lind hit a slow grounder towards Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who flipped it with his glove to Joe Mauer at first base. The play saved what would've been the first run of the game.
Go-ahead Escobar: Eduardo Escobar delivered the Twins a lead for the second day in a row. With the bases loaded in the seventh inning, the left fielder hit a one-out sacrifice fly off Fiers to plate Mauer. It was Escobar's fourth RBI of the series after crushing a three-run home run in Saturday's game. He also drew a walk and lined a single to center field off Fiers, who allowed just four hits.
"All year, we've seen glimpses of this from him and we know it's all in there," Braun said of Fiers. "He made some really big pitches in big situations. Bases loaded, and they were only able to get one run. He was able to keep us in it."
All square: Brewers pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra promptly tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning against Twins reliever Blaine Boyer, who found trouble after allowing a leadoff double to Aramis Ramirez. Three batters later, with pinch-runner Hector Gomez at third base with two outs, Parra flicked a down-and-away curveball over third base for a tying RBI single. A regular starter over the past month while left fielder Khris Davis recovers from knee surgery, Parra is hitting .318 (61-for-192) over his last 58 games.
Braun blast: Braun was batting .196 (10-for-51) with six RBIs in his last 14-plus games entering the eighth inning on Sunday when he looked at a first-pitch ball from Fien, then connected with a slider that split home plate. It was Braun's third home run since briefly leaving the team at the start of June for a second cryotherapy injection in his bothersome right thumb. More >
After working a leadoff walk in the second inning, Escobar was picked off by Fiers in a close play at first base. Twins manager Paul Molitor challenged the call, and after a lengthy review, the call stood. The Twins made getting out on the bases a common theme over the course of the series, as three runners were thrown out trying to steal second by Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
"We're kind of at the mercy of what we see on replay," Molitor said. "The system isn't perfect. We know that. It's a play you could look at 100 times and still not be 100 percent sure. Escobar got in a position where the [umpire] thought he was out. It cost us because of our inability to challenge [later in the game]."
"There's still three months of baseball left, and I think we've gotten to a point where we need to get back to wanting to win, to feeling like we're going to win, to showing up and feeling like we have a legitimate chance to win. Winning is something that's learned as a team, just like hitting, pitching, defense and baserunning is." -- Braun on the Brewers' season
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Braun also logged the 150th stolen base of his career on Sunday before hitting his 245th career home run. Only Robin Yount (251 homers) has hit more in a Brewers uniform.
Twins: Minnesota will continue its 10-game, three-city road trip on Monday in Cincinnati against the Reds. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has won three of his previous four starts at Great American Ball Park, gets the call in the series opener. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Brewers: For the first time this season, the Brewers will play a team with a lower winning percentage when they visit the Phillies for a four-game series beginning Monday. Jimmy Nelson will be on the mound in the 6:05 p.m. CT opener.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.