Brewers-Twins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 15, 2012
The Minnesota Twins haven't been able to get the job done at home lately after a strong stretch at Target Field. Welcoming the Milwaukee Brewers could help the Twins regain their winning ways in Minneapolis. Minnesota tries to avoid a third straight defeat Friday night when the Brewers look to end their three-game skid. After opening 6-17 at their ballpark in 2012, the Twins (25-37) won five straight as the home team. Minnesota, though, has dropped two in a row and three of four at Target Field following Thursday's 6-1 loss to Philadelphia. The Twins, though, are 15-6 at home against Milwaukee since 2005 after winning two of three in the Brewers' last visit July 1-3. Milwaukee (28-35), which has lost four straight and 11 of 13 in AL parks, arrives in town after getting swept at Kansas City. The Brewers have dropped 10 of 12 during interleague play after giving up two ninth-inning runs in Thursday's 4-3 defeat. "We played a good game until that last inning,'' manager Ron Roenicke said after the club's third consecutive one-run defeat. "Same thing. We let it get away again.'' Milwaukee continues its six-game trip with Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 4.21 ERA) facing the Twins for the second time this season. The right-hander threw six innings of two-run ball in a 5-4, 11-inning home loss to Minnesota on May 19. The Brewers had their best offensive performance of the season the following day - a 16-4 victory - to avoid the sweep. Gallardo will try to help Milwaukee get off to a quick start in this three-game series after striking out five and yielding two runs in seven innings of Sunday's 6-5 victory over San Diego. He had surrendered eight runs in his previous two outings. "Yovani I thought threw the ball really well,'' Roenicke said. Gallardo will need to against Trevor Plouffe, who has homered in three consecutive games and five of the last six to move within one of tying Josh Willingham for the Twins' lead with 13. Minnesota (25-37), though, will need more production from throughout the lineup after getting held to seven hits Thursday in Joe Blanton's complete game. The Twins had a major league-high 68 runs from June 1-13. The Twins could use a start like that from Francisco Liriano (1-7, 6.45) on Friday. The veteran left-hander is 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA in three starts since returning to the rotation. Liriano's worst start since his stint in the bullpen was Sunday when he surrendered four runs over 5 2-3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. "Just keep running him out there. He's got a great arm. He can give you an opportunity to win a ballgame,'' Gardenhire said. Liriano would give the Twins a better chance of doing that if he can cool Ryan Braun, who is batting .397 (29 for 73) with three homers and 20 RBIs during a 19-game interleague hitting streak. The reigning NL MVP is batting .400 (14 for 35) while hitting safely in nine consecutive games against Minnesota. He went 8 for 13 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBIs in last month's series. Minnesota's Joe Mauer went 7 for 11 with three doubles in those contests. He has five hits in nine at-bats off Gallardo.
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