Twins power past Brewers, 6-4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Oswaldo Arcia — and about everyone else at Target Field — had time to admire his three-run home run in the fourth inning that hit close to the top of the pole in right field.
The young slugger made a stronger impression and an even bigger impact two at-bats later.
Arcia had four RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the seventh, to push the Minnesota Twins past Milwaukee 6-4 on Wednesday night for their seventh win in the last eight meetings with the Brewers.
Arcia went deep for the third time in 10 games since his recall from Triple-A to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Through translator and teammate Eduardo Nunez, Arcia said he waited at the plate for several seconds to watch the ball soar because he knew it was close to hooking foul.
“He thinks it was a home run, right away,” Nunez said.
Said manager Ron Gardenhire: “Pretty impressive. He’s a strong young man.”
After Aramis Ramirez tied the game with a three-run homer in the seventh inning against Ricky Nolasco (4-5), the Brewers brought in lights-out left-hander Will Smith to face Arcia after Josh Willingham had doubled with two outs against Rob Wooten (1-3).
Arcia hung in there long enough to stroke a 2-2 slider into right field to drive in Willingham, who forced in an earlier run against starter Marco Estrada with a bases-loaded walk. Arcia, who swung and missed at the same slider one pitch earlier, took second on the throw home to get in position to score on a single by Trevor Plouffe.
That was just the second earned run against Smith all season and the first in 15 games.
“Against Will Smith, not many left-handers are going to hit his breaking ball,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
But Arcia did, picking up Nolasco and the Twins.
Nolasco, who retired 13 straight batters until consecutive singles by Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez to start the seventh, recovered after Ramirez’s wallop to finish the inning. Nolasco struck out seven without a walk while allowing six hits, another step forward from an awful first month with the Twins after signing the richest free agent contract in club history.
“They made me pay. That’s what this lineup can do, quick,” Nolasco said, adding: “I’m not going to take one pitch and ruin my night.”
Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Ramirez started the season strong but was slumping badly when he strained his left hamstring 22 games ago, and the first-place Brewers haven’t missed a beat without him, with Mark Reynolds and his 13 home runs at third base.
“That’s what I’m here for, to drive in runs and help the team,” Ramirez said.
The Brewers started this string of 15 of 18 games on the road with the lead after consecutive two-out doubles by Rickie Weeks and Reynolds in the second, but for the second straight game the Twins had success against part of what has been a sturdy rotation for the Brewers.
The return of Willingham and Arcia to the heart of the order after missing a combined 74 games with wrist injuries and rehab assignments was a big boost for the Twins last week, and they gave Estrada trouble.
Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher gave Estrada some trouble, too, with several close calls going against the right-hander.
“They just weren’t going our way,” Estrada said.