MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After two close calls, Joe Mauer finally lifted one over the fence.
Mauer hit a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 Friday night for their 10th straight win, all against NL teams.The catcher is known for hitting line drives, not home runs. On Friday, he flew out to the warning track in center in the third and sent a double high off the wall in left-center in the fifth before connecting."Earlier in the game it felt like I got a couple pretty good," said Mauer, who has three homers this season. "I just hit the last one in the right spot."Mauer homered off reliever Guillermo Mota (2-4) over the center-field wall and sprinted around the bases to a standing ovation. He connected after fouling off two 0-2 pitches. Mota left a 96 mph fastball up in the zone."I was trying to pitch it up and in. I missed that spot and he got it," Mota said.Brian Buscher had the tying hit off reliever Brian Shouse in the seventh inning.The Twins swept the Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres before facing the Brewers. Minnesota is 13-3 overall against the NL this season.Throughout the streak, its longest since reeling off 11 straight from June 22-July 3, 2006, Minnesota rallied from behind with a balanced offense."I don't recommend that theory," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of coming from behind to win. "But it's a nine inning game. You have to keep playing."Matt Guerier (4-2) pitched the eighth for the win. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances.Corey Hart hit two home runs for the Brewers. It was the fifth multihomer game of his career and second this season.Hart and Russell Branyan hit back-to-back shots in the second to give Milwaukee a 2-1 lead. A pair of two-run homers from J.J. Hardy and Hart chased Twins starter Nick Blackburn and gave the Brewers a 6-3 advantage in the fifth."It was a good game, I don't know what to say," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We got homers, they got homers."Hart's two homers extended his hitting streak to five games. He has four longballs in his last six games."Good games don't feel to great if you don't win," Hart said.Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly and Delmon Young's single made it 6-5 in the fifth. Earlier, Alexi Casilla and Jason Kubel each homered for the Twins.Buscher's blooper in the seventh, his 14th RBI in his last 11 games, dropped in front of Ryan Braun and scored Kubel. Braun had thrown out Michael Cuddyer at the plate one batter earlier."It's nice to see guys step up in those types of situations," Mauer said. "They were swinging the bats well and we were able to come back."Milwaukee starter Seth McClung gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.The Brewers are a major league-best 24-12 since May 20 and have hit 50 home runs in their last 26 games, but that muscle wasn't enough to stop the streaking Twins."We lost today. Even though I didn't get the loss, I lost today," McClung said. "This is my fault. Everybody else played fine."Minnesota's three home runs tied a season high and had Gardenhire hoping for more longballs the rest of the season."We have people that can hit home runs," Gardenhire said. "You have to find your swing. If you put good swings on the ball, the ball's going to fly out of here."
Brewers closer Eric Gagne, out since May 25 with rotator cuff tendinits, will join the team tomorrow and throw a bullpen session. Gagne allowed two runs on two hits and struck out two over two-thirds of an inning during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville on Thursday. It's still unknown when he will be activated. ... Casilla left the game in the fifth after making a diving play on a ground ball. He sprained his left middle finger and is day to day. ... Twins left-handed relief specialist Dennys Reyes tweaked his knee fielding a chopper during Thursday's win over San Diego. He was scheduled for an MRI on Friday and was unavailable. ... Milwaukee is now 17-7 in one-run games this season. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Nick Punto will probably start on Saturday against Brewers lefty Manny Parra. The utility infielder came off the disabled list on June 24 but hasn't started yet because Buscher, Brendan Harris and Casilla are swinging the bat well. ... Branyan has 11 home runs since joining the team on May 25.