Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 6/30)

Game 1: Friday, June 30
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Minnesota8
Game 2: Saturday, July 1
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Minnesota10
Game 3: Sunday, July 2
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Minnesota8

Brewers 2

(40-41, 15-24 away)

Twins 8

(43-35, 28-10 home)

    8:10 PM ET, June 30, 2006

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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    MIL 000010010 2 5 1
    MIN 02004020 - 8 7 0

    W: B. Radke (7-7)

    L: C. Villanueva (0-1)

    Eight is enough for Radke, Twins against Brewers

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Justin Morneau has arranged to hang out with a friend over the All-Star break. The Twins are hoping he'll have to change his plans.

    Morneau and Torii Hunter hit back-to-back home runs, Brad Radke sailed through seven innings and Minnesota beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 Friday night for their eighth straight victory.

    Morneau became the first Minnesota batter to reach 20 home runs by the end of June since Kent Hrbek in 1987. That was also the last season the Twins had someone hit 30 homers, when Hrbek, Tom Brunansky and Gary Gaetti each surpassed that mark.

    Joe Mauer, Francisco Liriano and Johan Santana have seized much of the spotlight lately, but the team believes Morneau should receive just as much All-Star game consideration. First base is a crowded position, though. A .288 batting average, 20 homers and 65 RBI still might not be enough.

    "It'd be nice to get in there somehow, but hopefully we can just be more consistent next year and there won't be a question," Morneau said. "Do I feel like I could be there? Yeah, but at the same time, I booked a flight to my buddy's cabin for the All-Star break today. If that changes, it'd be great, but I'm not expecting it."

    Terry Tiffee hit a two-run homer for the Twins, who have won 18 of their last 20 games -- including 11 straight at the Metrodome -- and improved to 14-2 in interleague play. Their 28-10 mark at home is baseball's best, and this is their second eight-game winning streak in the last three weeks.

    "There's a lot of energy on this ballclub, a lot of things going on, and it's fun to watch," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

    Radke (7-7), whose stark turnaround has mirrored Minnesota's this month, easily bested Brewers rookie Carlos Villanueva (0-1) by scattering four hits without a walk while striking out four.

    Radke, who had a 7.44 ERA after his first 10 starts, improved to 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his last seven outings. He retired 10 straight, breaking multiple bats, until Corey Koskie's double in the fifth. Damian Miller drove him in with a single.

    But for the fifth time in the last month, the Brewers failed to move above .500.

    "We get there, and then we seem to stumble," Geoff Jenkins said. "Hopefully it's just one game and we can get it going again."

    Villanueva allowed six hits (all for extra bases), six runs and two walks while striking out three in five innings. Morneau and Hunter each went deep, two pitches apart, in the second.

    Making only his second major league start, Villanueva didn't really get in trouble until the fifth when Jason Kubel doubled ahead of Tiffee's homer.

    Luis Castillo tripled and Nick Punto doubled him in -- scoring when Michael Cuddyer barely beat out a fielder's choice grounder to Koskie, the Brewers' third baseman.

    Koskie slightly bobbled the ball, which cost him a chance to complete the double play and allowed Punto -- perhaps the Twins' fastest player -- to score from second and give his team a 6-1 lead.

    Milwaukee manager Ned Yost was livid with first base umpire Brian O'Nora, who coiled in preparation for calling Cuddyer out but stopped and spread his arms wide to signal safe. Yost and O'Nora were brim-to-brim for a few seconds, yelling and pointing, and Yost quickly drew his fifth ejection of the year.

    Villanueva twice managed to strike out the leading hitter in the majors, Mauer, who later hit a two-run double against Rick Helling in the seventh.

    But the Brewers again struggled to find a suitable pitcher for the back of their rotation. Chris Capuano, Dave Bush and Doug Davis have formed a steady trio at the top, but injuries to ace Ben Sheets and Tomo Ohka have forced them to try seven different replacements.

    "It seemed like every time I kept the ball up, they capitalized," Villanueva said. "Teams that get hot, things go their way."

    Morneau didn't perform up to expectations last year, though he still finished with 22 homers and 79 RBI in his first full major league season. He was still stumbling earlier this month when the Twins finished an awful road trip in Seattle.

    Unhappy with Morneau's attitude and approach, Gardenhire pulled his first baseman in for a closed-door meeting. Since, the 25-year-old Canadian has rededicated himself to the game.

    "I think he put it best: You get tired of making outs," Gardenhire said. "You have to try to figure out what you need to do to get better as a player and a person."

    Game notes


    Sheets, whose right shoulder problems have kept him out for all but four starts, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday. If that goes well, he'll probably pitch in a simulated game soon after. ... Brewers rookie Chris Barnwell, playing shortstop for Bill Hall, hit an infield single in the eighth for his first major league RBI. ... Hall, 2-for-16 with 10 strikeouts in his last four games, might get a rest on Saturday, too. ... Castillo, 9-for-46 in his last 10 games, saved a run for Radke in the second when he backhanded a slow, broken-bat roller hit by Miller up the middle with Carlos Lee at second base. He then fired a perfect off-balance throw to an outstretched Morneau at first.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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