Gomez, Brewers get split with Twins, win 8-5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With a bunch of big guys who swing even bigger, these Milwaukee Brewers always have the strength to quickly climb back in the game.
They sure powered their way past this latest deficit.
Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer against his former team to spark the comeback for the Brewers in an 8-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
“If we swing the bat like that, we’re going to really do well,” manager Ron Roenicke said.
Khris Davis hit a two-run homer off Kevin Correia (2-7) for the lead in the sixth inning to pull Brewers starter Wily Peralta (5-5) out the an early hole created by Oswaldo Arcia’s grand slam.
Jonathan Lucroy tacked on a two-run shot in the ninth, and Francisco Rodriguez finished up for his 18th save in 20 attempts. That’s been a functional formula for the Brewers, who’ve been in first place in the NL Central since April 5.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can hurt you, and you have to be careful,” Correia said. “Obviously you make one pitch at the wrong time, it’s three runs. That’s happened to us twice in the last two nights.”
Arcia gave the Twins a 4-0 lead in the third inning, but the young slugger left the game after spraining his right ankle while being picked off second base in the sixth.
Peralta was in trouble every other inning, but Arcia was the only one who actually made him pay for it — and in a big way.
After two walks sandwiched around a single, all with two outs, Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz visited the mount for a talk with Peralta. Then, the burly 23-year-old Arcia clobbered a 2-2 slider onto the open concourse behind the right field seats, the first grand slam of the season by the Twins.
Arcia responded to his curtain call, emerging from the dugout, flipping his helmet off to reveal his intimidating faux-hawk haircut and thrusting both arms in the air to acknowledge the crowd.
Peralta (5-5) finished five innings, giving up five hits and three walks while striking out four. He was 0-4 in his previous five starts despite a couple of strong performances. Naturally, as he matched his shortest turn this season he picked up the win.
“He works really hard on every single batter, and you can’t keep doing that,” Roenicke said.
Gomez gave him a boost in the second inning with a sprinting, leaping grab of Trevor Plouffe’s drive to right-center field. Gomez crashed against the wall, crow-hopped away from it as he flashed his glove and chopped his arms below his chest in celebration.
Then came the bigger play by Gomez, whose all-around potential showed in two seasons with the Twins but was too raw at the time for them to trust him. He tapped his helmet and pumped his arm at each base as he sprinted around the diamond following his three-run drive that brought the Brewers roaring back in the fourth.
“Huge getting back in the game. The grand slam just takes that good feeling out of you, and then Gomez comes through,” Roenicke said.
Gomez batted cleanup for the 13th straight game, hitting .333 with two homers and 12 RBIs in that span.
“Every time he walks to the plate he’s in scoring position,” Davis said.
Coincidentally, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire praised in his news briefing before the game the flair that Arcia and Gomez carry, which can irk some players.
“I think that’s part of the game, man. You’re supposed to have fun,” Gardenhire said.
Correia hasn’t had much fun lately. He was the most reliable starter for the Twins last year, but he gave up a season-high 10 hits while striking out three. His ERA spiked to 6.11, putting his spot in the rotation in question. There was no question for Gardenhire, though.
“Kevin’s one of our starters. He’s paid good money to do that,” the manager said, “and he’s still going to get paid no matter what.”
NOTES: Roenicke said Aramis Ramirez, used as the DH to ease him back in from the DL, will return to 3B on Friday. ... Arcia is batting .366 in his last 10 games. ... Gomez is batting .333 in 22 career games against the Twins, with six HRs and 16 RBIs.