MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins overcame a three-run deficit with the help of a four-hit game from Jorge Polanco and a run-scoring balk in the seventh inning in a 5-4 win over the Brewers on Monday night at Target Field.
The Twins have won back-to-back games for the first time since July 7 and sit 2 1/2 games back of the Royals and Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot. The Brewers fell to 1 1/2 games behind the National League Central-leading Cubs after Chicago beat the Giants.
"It was a really good win tonight with a good atmosphere in the ballpark," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "They put up a three-spot, but we hung in there and had a couple rallies. Polanco had a big hit and had a good night with the bat again, which was encouraging for us. It was just one of those games where we had to stick with it."
Milwaukee held a 4-3 lead in the seventh, but Minnesota rallied with the help of an RBI double from Eddie Rosario over Domingo Santana's head in right field. Rosario took third on a sac bunt by Byron Buxton and scored what proved to be the winning run on a costly balk by reliever Oliver Drake with two outs, with Rosario's break toward home causing the right-hander to flinch.
"It's huge if I can just make one pitch after that. I get that guy out, and it's a tie game and a completely different story," Drake said. "Balking in the winning run really sucks."
The Brewers jumped out to an early lead against Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, who wasn't helped by a defense that committed three errors. Keon Broxton got it started with a solo homer in the third before the Brewers scored two more runs that inning after two errors by the Twins. Broxton later added an RBI double in the fourth off Santana, who was otherwise solid, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits over six innings.
Brewers left-hander Brent Suter struggled, lasting four frames and allowing three runs on five hits. Joe Mauer brought home a run with an RBI groundout in the third before Polanco connected on a two-run double in the fourth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rosario comes through: Rosario tied the game with his RBI double in the seventh on a hard-hit liner that Santana appeared to misjudge, jumping for it even though it sailed 20 feet over his head. The drive to the wall allowed Eduardo Escobar to score from first to tie the game and set the stage for Rosario eventually scoring the winning run on a balk after Buxton bunted him to third.
"I was trying to make hard contact," Rosario said. "When I hit it, I was ready to give up, thinking it was a hard out, but sure enough."
• Stretch misstep hard to swallow for Drake
Polanco overcomes error: With two outs in the third, Ryan Braun hit a routine grounder to Polanco at shortstop, but he booted it for an error to allow Braun to reach safely and Santana to advance to second after a hit-by-pitch. The Brewers cashed in, as Travis Shaw singled up the middle and center fielder Buxton overran it, allowing both Santana and Braun to score. But Polanco more than made up for it with his second career four-hit game, including a two-run double with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth.
"I faced him in the Minor Leagues," Suter said of Polanco. "He's always saw me pretty well, so he was definitely one guy I was trying to avoid the middle of the plate and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that. He had two big doubles against us. You have to give him credit, but I still felt like I let the team down."
• Polanco makes up for error with 4 hits, 2 RBIs
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With his second walk of the game in the fifth inning, Mauer tied Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for the second-most times on base in Twins history at 2,810. Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew holds the team record, reaching safely 3,072 times.
Brewers: Right-hander Matt Garza (5-5, 3.68 ERA) will make his second start since returning from the disabled list with a calf strain as the series continues at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Last time out, Garza gave up one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings in the win over the Cardinals. He is 2-2 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota.
Twins: Left-hander Adalberto Mejia (4-5, 4.30 ERA) is set to start against the Brewers on Tuesday in the final game of Minnesota's six-game homestand. Mejia is coming off a loss to the Rangers, allowing four runs over four innings.
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