MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have built the best record in the major leagues, fueled by a massive power surge.
Their six-game winning streak was stopped, fittingly, by the Milwaukee Brewers with a big swing from Orlando Arcia.
Arcia drove in three runs, including a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning , before Josh Hader struck out Miguel Sano on three pitches with two runners aboard Monday night to preserve a 5-4 victory for the Brewers.
“I was just trying to find a way to get the runner over, and thankfully I was able to get my hands through and get good contact on the ball,” Arcia said through a translator.
The Twins, who fell to 19-7 in May, had a one-run decision for the first time in 11 games. They outscored their opponents 53-16 during their six-game streak.
“Even when you play pretty well, you’re not going to win every game, especially when you run into a good, talented team,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
After an RBI single by rookie Luis Arraez and a three-run homer by Byron Buxton , both with two outs in the second inning against Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez, the Twins stopped scoring. Gonzalez settled down and retired the last six batters he faced. Then the bullpen finished with 4 1/3 scoreless innings, scattering three singles.
Jeremy Jeffress, Junior Guerra and Corbin Burnes (1-3) bridged the gap to Hader, who notched his 13th save with a two-inning appearance.
The crowd of 29,167 included at least an even split with Brewers fans, the local contingent likely lessened by an all-day downpour that dampened the Memorial Day holiday and didn’t stop until shortly before first pitch.
During a brief return by the rain, Keston Hiura had the first of three straight hits against Michael Pineda in the third, the only hits allowed by the Twins starter in six innings. Arcia doubled to put the Brewers on the board , and Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich followed with sacrifice flies to bring them to 4-3.
“When you score three, you feel like, with that long to go in the game, you’re essentially tied,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
In the eighth, Arcia took Taylor Rogers (1-1) deep for a two-run shot after pinch-hitter Hernan Perez led off with a double, the first homer allowed by Rogers in 17 appearances since April 2.
“Off the bat, I knew it was gone,” Rogers said.
Gonzalez failed to finish the fifth for the first time in six starts with the Brewers and gave up a season-most four runs.
“I just want to get past this,” he said. “That second inning was a head-scratcher.”
Jeffress, who relieved Gonzalez after 102 pitches, ran quite the gauntlet to get the final out of the fifth. After issuing a walk, he was directed by the umpires — after Baldelli inquired — to change his pull-off sleeves from light gray to navy blue to match his teammates and comply with baseball’s uniform rules. Then after giving up a single, Jeffress snagged a screaming line drive hit by Willians Astudillo with his glove right in front of his face.
Jeffress bent awkwardly backward as he fell with the momentum from making the catch. After lying flat on his back in front of the mound in shock and discomfort, Jeffress walked gingerly off the field on his own after being checked by the team.
“I just reacted. That’s all I could do,” he said.
GOING, GOING, GONE
The Brewers lead the National League with 90 home runs, buoyed by Yelich’s major league-best 21. They’re fourth in the majors, with the Twins (105) on top. Buxton’s shot to the bullpen behind left-center field matched the Minnesota record for most homers in one month (55), first set in May 1964.
Pineda, in his comeback season from Tommy John surgery on July 18, 2017, allowed exactly three earned runs in each of his five May starts. He logged 30 innings this month, finishing the sixth in each of his last four turns while lowering his ERA from 6.21 to 5.34.
“I consider this a very positive start. That’s a tough lineup,” Baldelli said.
Brewers: Backup catcher Manny Pina (strained right hamstring) went through a workout in Milwaukee and will start a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Wisconsin. He has missed the last 10 games.
Twins: Backup catcher Mitch Garver (sprained left ankle) headed out for a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. “I’ve passed every agility test that they’ve wanted me to pass. As far as I’m concerned, the training staff is concerned, my ankle is healthy and we’re ready to go,” Garver said.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (5-0, 2.43 ERA) starts the finale of the two-game series, coming off his worst start of the season. Davies gave up six runs on six hits and one walk over three innings last week in an 11-9 win over Cincinnati.
Twins: LHP Martin Perez (7-1, 2.95 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday night having won six of eight turns with one no-decision since joining the rotation after a bullpen stint when the Twins began the season with four starters. With a victory, Perez would match Houston’s Justin Verlander for the second-most in the majors.