Twins blow lead, bounce back to beat Brewers
MINNEAPOLIS - With the game tied and the momentum going against them, the Minnesota Twins came up big Wednesday against one of the major league's best left-handed relievers.
The Twins became the second team this season to get an earned run off Milwaukee Brewers lefty Will Smith, and their two-out, seventh-inning rally was enough in a 6-4 win at Target Field.
Smith, who hadn't allowed an earned run over 14 consecutive appearances since April 29, allowed the game-winning single to Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia with Josh Willingham on second base.
Willingham doubled off Brewers reliever Rob Wooten (1-3). After Arcia singled and advanced to second on the throw home, Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe singled past Milwaukee first baseman Lyle Overbay to give the Twins an insurance run.
"Obviously it's frustrating because you give up Woot's run, which you don't want to do, and in a tie ballgame right there we had the momentum on our side," Smith said. "It just kind of stinks to give it up."
Trailing 4-1 entering the top of the seveth, Milwaukee tied the game on a monster home run by designated hitter Aramis Ramirez, a no-doubter over the center field wall that traveled 413 feet. Ramirez hit his sixth homer of the season in his first game back after missing 22 games with a strained left hamstring.
"That's what I'm here for, to drive in runs and help the team," Ramirez said. "I hit that ball pretty good. He was throwing the ball well tonight but left that fastball out over the plate, and I put a pretty good swing on it."
Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who yielded the blast, said, "Aramis has been in this league a long time, and he made me pay."
"Three hitters in a row, it just looked like he lost it," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said of Nolasco. "The ball wasn't snapping like it was for three hitters, and there you have it, they're back in the ballgame."
With the game tied in the late innings, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was confident.
"I thought we were in real good shape when that happened, and we just couldn't hold it," Roenicke said.
Milwaukee got on the board first thanks to back-to-back, two-out doubles from second baseman Rickie Weeks and third baseman Mark Reynolds in the second inning.
The Twins, who used the long ball to build an insurmountable lead Tuesday night at Miller Park, used it again in the fourth inning Wednesday to grab the lead.
After a walk by second baseman Brian Dozier and a single by Willingham put two on with one out, Arcia hammered a 2-1 fastball from Brewers righty Marco Estrada off the top of the foul pole in right field for his third homer of the season.
Minnesota added to its lead in the fifth after Estrada gave up a single, hit Dozier with a pitch then walked two batters -- all with one out. He escaped further damage by forcing Arcia and Plouffe into two straight groundouts to end the inning down only 4-1.
Arcia's single off Smith in the seventh made a winner of Nolasco (4-5), who allowed four runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.
"Just tempo, command of the fastball, breaking stuff was pretty good and I just tried to use the defense," Nolasco said. "I know they're a very aggressive team and can do some damage, so I was just trying to stay out of the middle of the plate. I was able to do that until one or two pitches in the seventh."
Twins righty Casey Fien worked a scoreless eighth in front of closer Glen Perkins, who retired the Brewers in order on seven pitches for his 16th save.
Estrada was on the hook for the loss until Ramirez's homer tied the game. Estrada tossed six innings and allowed four runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batter. He struck out four.