MILWAUKEE -- Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to see a big swing. Trevor Plouffe obliged him.
Plouffe hit a solo home run in the 11th inning, lifting the Twins over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 Saturday for their season-high fourth straight win.Plouffe's fourth homer of the season came off Manny Parra (0-1) with two outs. Parra retired the first two batters before Plouffe sent a 2-0 pitch into the Brewers' bullpen."That was a big one today," Gardenhire said. "At that point, we were all yelling for him to hit a home run. We'd been there long enough. It was a pretty exciting moment for him."Plouffe was not available for comment."I think everybody is coming together, from our starting lineup to the pitchers to the bullpen," outfielder Ben Revere said. "We go to Detroit and sweep them. Hopefully, we can finish this thing off with a sweep. It'd be good feeling. We'd be right back in this."Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said that Plouffe had Parra right where he wanted."He got behind. He got him in a fastball advantage count for the hitter," Lucroy said. "He cheated to it and yanked it out of there.""(If) that ball is down, it's a rollover to the shortstop," Lucroy said. "That's the way it goes."The Brewers have lost six of seven, including four straight which tied a season-worst. During that stretch, they have scored just 21 runs. Milwaukee fell to a season-low eight games below .500."We've got to be able to score a run," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.Milwaukee tied its season-high with 14 strikeouts.Matt Capps, the fifth Twins reliever, got three outs for his ninth save.The Brewers threatened to win it in the 10th when Corey Hart singled with one out off reliever Jeff Gray (3-0). After Nyjer Morgan struck out, Ryan Braun looped the ball over second baseman Jamey Carroll and Hart raced to third on the play. But Aramis Ramirez, whose two-run homer in the eighth tied the game, flied out to end the inning.The game turned into a battle between relievers after strong starts by the Twins' Carl Pavano and Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo."Both sides threw just about everything they had out there," Gardenhire said. "It was a back and forth ballgame."Ramirez's two-run homer off reliever Jared Burton in the eighth tied it at 4. His third home run of the season came with Morgan aboard with his third single in the game.The Twins went ahead 3-2 in the seventh when reliever Juan Perez, who just had his contract selected from Triple-A Nashville, hit Revere with the bases loaded. Carroll added an RBI single in the eighth.Brian Dozier hit two bases-loaded sacrifice flies off Gallardo, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth. Milwaukee answered each time off Pavano with RBI singles by Jonathan Lucroy in the fourth and Braun in the sixth.Pavano, the 36-year-old right-hander, made his 300th career major league appearance and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Gallardo went six innings, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on three hits. He walked three and struck out three.
After the game, the Brewers optioned utility infielder Brooks Conrad to Nashville. The move was in anticipation of OF Carlos Gomez joining the team on Sunday after his rehab with Class A Wisconsin concludes. ... Right-handed reliever Vinnie Chulk was designated for assignment to make room for Perez. ... Gardenhire intended to give Joe Mauer the day off because his catcher was sore. He ended up using Mauer, who stayed in the game after pinch hitting in the eighth. ... Twins C Ryan Doumit pinch hit in the seventh despite a sore calf. ... Umpire Bob Davidson was back and behind the plate after serving his one-game suspension for repeated violations of MLB's standards for situation handling.