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MIN@MIL: Lucroy lifts two homers, drives in seven

MILWAUKEE - Throughout the Brewers' recent struggles offensively, catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been what Corey Hart described on Sunday as "one of our bright spots."

Lucroy couldn't have shined much brighter on Sunday afternoon, tying a franchise record with seven RBIs and recording the first multi-home run game of his career. This time, though, Lucroy's Milwaukee teammates joined in the fun in a 16-4 blowout over the Twins at Miller Park.

The 25-year-old catcher became the sixth Brewer to notch seven RBIs in a game, and his grand slam in the seventh inning was the first of his career.

But on a day when the Milwaukee offense finally broke out of its shell with 17 hits and a season-high 16 runs -- on the way to snapping a four-game losing streak -- Lucroy said his career day was not the focus.

"It just means I helped my team win today," Lucroy said. "I'm not a stat rat, I really don't care how I do as long as I'm helping my team win."

Lucroy, Hart and Ryan Braun each collected three hits, and in all, five Brewers registered multi-hit games, including starting pitcher Zack Greinke.

The offensive eruption started in the first inning, when Hart and Lucroy each hit home runs to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. It continued into the second, after Greinke drove a single through the middle of the infield, sparking a six-run inning in which eight consecutive batters reached base.

The second inning saw Lucroy drive in his second run of the day, and his teammates were much more willing to talk about the impact he had on the Milwaukee attack.

"His confidence is through the roof, and he's becoming more of a leader," Hart said. "For us, it's big. It's helpful because a lot of guys are working their way up, and he's definitely a mainstay."

Last season, Lucroy was one of the players finding his way with the Brewers. Despite the occasional hot streaks, he finished the year batting .263, and manager Ron Roenicke said Lucroy was frustrated with his inconsistency.

This season, however, Lucroy has been a rock, hitting at the top of the league with runners in scoring position (.552).

"I feel like Lucroy was like that last year, and then he kind of wore down at the end of the year, catching a lot of games and stuff," Greinke said. "Hopefully he's stronger this year, and he'll be able to do it all year long."

After his big day, Lucroy said he believes his inconsistencies are behind him, and his success is simply a matter of being more familiar with everyone in the clubhouse and settling into his role.

"As in anything, the more experience you have, it helps you out," Lucroy said. "As you get older and more experience in the game and baseball at this level, I think you get a little more comfortable."

While Lucroy and his teammates raked at the dish, Greinke threw another solid game to move to 5-1 on the year and 14-0 at Miller Park as a Brewer. Armed with an 8-1 lead after two, Greinke cruised through 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and surrendering just one run in the top of the first.

Greinke gave up his first walk in 23 full innings in the sixth, when he walked two batters. Lucroy said the right-hander might have been a little off despite his numbers.

"I don't think he was as sharp as I've seen him," Lucroy said. "But Zack's off day is a good day for a lot of guys, so you really can't say anything about that."

On the Minnesota side, right-hander Jason Marquis gave up eight earned and lasted just 1 2/3 innings.

"There's not a lot to say other than that our starter didn't get it done," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They hit pretty much everything he threw up there."

From the Brewers' perspective, players felt due for such a performance. During their most recent four-game losing streak, Milwaukee never scored more than four runs in a game and collected a total of 33 hits, failing to get much production from the bottom of the lineup.

On Sunday, nine Brewers recorded a hit, and only one player with at least three plate appearances failed to reach base.

Braun had no answer for why Sunday brought such drastically different results, calling baseball "a stupid game sometimes."

"Days like this are why I always say it's all process; this whole game is process," Braun said. "You have no idea when days like this will come. You just believe in the process and hope for the best. The sooner that you can move on from good or bad days, individually or as a team, the better you'll be."

Sunday's win moved the Brewers to 17-24, as one quarter of the season now is in the books. Now seven games below .500, Hart said he hopes Sunday's outburst is a sign of things to come.

"We've had a rough go of it, so sometimes these days kind of catapult it," Hart said. "Hopefully it does. We've been trying for a day like this, and hopefully it continues. Obviously we're not going to score this many runs every day, but it's a good day to get confidence in the guys."

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