Jeffers' 1st hit of '24 powers Twins over Brewers

Catcher's three-run HR caps off seventh-inning rally as bats break out

April 3rd, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- Twins batters hadn’t hit a home run since Royce Lewis’ first-inning blast in the season opener against the Royals in Kansas City. They entered the finale of a two-game series against the Brewers hitting just .188 with 11 runs scored and 24 hits in their first four games.

The bats would remain silent for most of Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee until a game-changing seventh inning power surge, capped by a three-run homer from catcher , who had gone 13 at-bats without a hit to start the season.

The Twins scored five runs in the inning and added another in the ninth for a 7-3 win, handing the Brewers their first loss of the season.

Jeffers said he discovered a small mechanical flaw in his swing while watching video on a recent off-day.

“Today, in the box I felt way more competitive,” said Jeffers, who followed up his homer with a single to drive in the game’s final run. “I could take my shots.”

Trailing 3-1 entering the seventh, the Twins got things started with back-to-back doubles by Alex Kirilloff, who recorded the first four-hit game of his career, and Byron Buxton to cut the lead to a single run. With one out, Carlos Correa singled to score Buxton and tie the score.

Batting with two on and two outs, Jeffers took Brewers’ reliever Bryse Wilson deep.

“It’s a big win for us,” Jeffers said. “It’s only game five but I feel like we needed that win going home and to not lose three straight and get the offense clicking.”

The Twins finished with 11 hits, but they could have done more damage, leaving 11 runners on base.

One of those opportunities came in the fourth inning when manager Rocco Baldelli opted to have Manuel Margot pinch-hit for leadoff hitter Edouard Julien with the bases loaded and two outs.

Margot dropped down a bunt, a decision he made on his own. He was initially called safe at first, but he was ruled out after a review to end the inning.

“I’m going to trust our players’ decisions on the field, but bunting with the bases loaded, generally speaking, is not something we’re going to do very much,” Baldelli said. “I wasn’t really expecting that. He’s up there to hit a double against a left-handed pitcher. He almost pulled it out and drove in a run for us, but we are going to swing with the bases loaded almost all the time.”

Twins pitcher Chris Paddack made his first start since May 8, 2022, when he suffered a UCL injury in his right elbow and underwent a second Tommy John surgery later that month. The right-hander pitched four innings, giving up six hits and two runs. He was lifted after throwing 82 pitches (47 strikes).

“It was a lot to take in,” Paddack said. “I’m very blessed to be given another opportunity to prove myself. I just went out there and enjoyed the moment and enjoyed the game. We came up with a win as a team. The guys started swinging away in the seventh inning. Great team win and a happy flight.”

Paddack, who was activated by the Twins in September and made two regular-season relief appearances before registering two scoreless appearances out of the bullpen in the ALDS against the Astros, credited the Brewers batters for their approach.

“I threw some of the best changeups of my career in the bottom of the zone all day long, and they didn’t even budge,” he said.

Paddack had hoped to take the mound again in the fifth but respected Baldelli’s decision to pull him from the game.

“It’s just one of those things where I’m not going to be able to have much say this year,” he said. “When Rocco makes that decision, I respect it. My goal is to be available and be ready for my next start and look up in October and help this team win.”

The Twins bullpen held the Brewers to one run over the final four innings. Daniel Duarte notched the win despite giving up the first career home run for Jackson Chourio, the Brewers’ 20-year-old rookie outfielder.

Brock Stewart, Griffin Jax and Steven Okert combined to pitch three scoreless innings.

“Those guys just all came in and they all did their job really well,” Baldelli said. “They generally attacked in the zone. We went right at them.”

The Twins (3-2) snapped a four-game losing streak at American Family Field and completed a five-game road trip to start the season. They will play their home opener Thursday afternoon at Target Field against the Guardians.