Struggling Brewers pounded by Twins, 11-3

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — After one of the more demoralizing losses in what has so far been a disappointing season, manager Ron Roenicke still thinks the Milwaukee Brewers can turn their season around.

It better start soon.

Ryan Braun hit his 11th home run but the Brewers were pounded by the Minnesota Twins 11-3 on Friday night, May 18th.

“It can’t be too much longer,” Roenicke said. “It is a long season. It is not at the point where I still don’t think we can’t turn this thing around. We’ve got a long ways to go. I just don’t want to have to have the huge winning streaks and month long streaks where it is the only way we can get back in it.”

The Brewers had four errors, and their overworked bullpen gave up a total of five runs in the seventh and eighth innings as the Twins blew open what had been a close game.

“This crew can get it done,” Roenicke said. “I can’t answer why we are playing the way we are lately, but we can get it done.”

Milwaukee who went 1-3 on a short road trip earlier this week.

“We are way too good of a team to be playing like this,” Brewers starter Marco Estrada said. “Things are going to change.”

Roenicke made a significant lineup change coming into the game, shifting struggling second baseman Rickie Weeks to the No. 6 spot in the order. Coming into the game, Weeks was batting only .156 with 49 strikeouts.

Roenicke moved Corey Hart to the leadoff spot, while Norichika Aoki started in centerfield and batted second.

Hart had a single and a double while Aoki added a single and an RBI double — plus an over-the-shoulder catch in the first. Weeks went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Estrada (0-3) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, with a walk and five strikeouts.

Scott Diamond won his third straight start for the Twins.

Diamond (3-0) gave up a run in the first, ending the 14-inning scoreless stretch he put together in two starts since he was called up from the minors. He went on to give up three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer, his eighth of the season, Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs while Denard Span had four hits and three RBIs for the Twins.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the first when Span led off with a double, then Estrada gave up a pair of deep fly balls — both going for outs on impressive catches by Aoki and Braun — before Willingham crushed a pitch deep into the left field stands.

It wasn’t the first big moment in Milwaukee for Willingham, who hit two grand slams in back-to-back innings at Miller Park while playing for the Washington Nationals in 2009.

The Brewers got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Hart scored as Braun grounded into a fielder’s choice, ending Diamond’s scoreless streak. But with runners on second and third with two outs after a double-steal, Weeks grounded out to end the inning.

Milwaukee tied it up in the third on an RBI double by Aoki, but the Twins threw out Braun on a double-steal attempt that sent Aoki to third — then third baseman Jamey Carroll threw out Aoki at home on a grounder by Aramis Ramirez, and Jonathan Lucroy flew out to end the inning.

Mauer then delivered a two-run double in the fifth to give the Twins a 4-2 lead.

Brewers reliever Manny Parra loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and the Twins let Diamond bat. He struck out — but Span hit a two-run single to put the Twins up 6-2 and chase Parra from the game.

Braun hit a solo homer in the sixth, cutting the lead to 6-3. But the Twins added a run in the seventh and another four in the eighth, including one on a bloop single by Span that landed between Weeks and Hart.

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