Slowey and surely, Twins beat Brewers
Righty pitches eight innings of two-run ball, drives in two
MILWAUKEE -- Since the Twins left for their current 10-game road trip just a week ago, they had been looking for the kind of victory that they produced on Friday night against the Brewers.The one where things fall into place for them early -- and it stays that way. After suffering through five blowout losses in their first six games of the trip and enduring a near collapse in their lone victory, the Twins finally were able to tack off a relatively easy 10-2 victory at Miller Park. "It's nice to be on the right side of that game for a change," Justin Morneau said. The feeling over the early part of the road trip had been frustration. It seemed as if it wasn't one thing, it was another that was keeping the team from stringing together victories. But on Friday night, the Twins delivered solid pitching, strong hitting and, well, even their pitcher hitting.
"It's neat to get a chance to hit because growing up, I think you always envision yourself as a hitter in the Major Leagues," Slowey said. "So when you finally get a chance to get hits, on the off chance you make contact with the ball, it's good."Slowey got quite a bit of offensive help as well. It all started with the top of the Twins' order. Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla combined to go 4-for-9 with three runs scored and two critical bunts in the fifth, sparking a five-run inning that included a two-run triple to deep center field by Morneau. Morneau's three RBIs on the night brought him to 50 on the season, and he credits the the new-look top of the lineup for allowing him to reach the milestone this early. "Since Casilla has come up, I've had a lot of opportunities with the two fast guys at the top of the order," Morneau said. "Perfect example was in the fifth when he bunts and the next guy bunts, and we've got nobody out with No. 3, 4, 5 coming up ... That's why it's big for our pitchers to keep us in the game so those guys can bunt. You can't bunt when down 8-0, and [that] takes away from their game." Besides getting back to small ball, the Twins also took advantage of Brewers mistakes. Casilla reached on an error by second baseman Bill Hall in the first inning and would score Minnesota's first run. A second fielding error by Hall in the seventh would spur on the five-run inning, which included Slowey's two-run single and a Casilla's three-run double to right field. The Twins even showed a bit of power, as Jason Kubel tallied his ninth home run of the season off right-hander Mark DiFelice. "We talked about picking up the pace and getting after it a little more," Gardenhire said of his team's offensive plan. "When you are getting down by six or seven runs early, it's hard to determine how motivated you are. When you get a lead and stay in the ballgame early, it's easy to stay a little more motivated ... Tonight there was a lot of enthusiasm." Even Michael Cuddyer, who left the game in the second inning with a bruised right hand, could find only one thing at fault with it. "To be able to get the offensive output, the good things like the bunts, Slowey the way he pitched -- the way he hit -- it seemed like everything went well for us," Cuddyer said. "It was a very good game -- I just wish I could have been a part of it a little more."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.