MINNEAPOLIS – With a 14-6 record at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins are enjoying their time in their new open-air ballpark.
They refused to leave without a win on Saturday, too, after frittering away a four-run lead in the ninth inning and emerging with a 4-hour, 45-minute victory.
Jason Kubel’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 12th allowed the Twins to outlast the free-falling Brewers 8-7, while forcing Milwaukee manager Ken Macha to summon today’s scheduled starter from his beleaguered bullpen.
“Just keep getting guys on base, and it’ll work out,” Kubel said.
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Jesse Crain (1-0) picked up the victory for the Twins despite starting the 12th with a five-pitch walk to Prince Fielder, his fourth of the game.
“We just can’t seem to get over the hump,” Macha said, praising his team’s effort.
With struggling closer Trevor Hoffman on hiatus while he works on his mechanics, Carlos Villanueva lost the lead in the bottom of the ninth after the Brewers suddenly snapped to life with five runs in the top of the inning to go ahead 7-6. With Hoffman unavailable, Macha went to today’s scheduled starter Manny Parra for the 11th.
As if Brewers fans needed more proof of their team’s pitching woes, Macha is currently carrying a 13-man staff — and he still had to go to the next day’s starter. Marco Estrada, who threw 21 pitches in the seventh, will take the mound today instead. Parra said he could pitch some, too. For more relief, the Brewers recalled left-hander Zach Braddock from Triple-A Nashville after the game and optioned lefty Mitch Stetter.
Justin Morneau’s RBI single off Yovani Gallardo set the stage for another big first inning for the Twins, who scored seven runs in the opening frame on Friday and four more in this game to extend their majors-most total of first-inning runs to 41.