MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -With a 14-6 record at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins are enjoying their time at the 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 freefalling Brewers 8-7, while forcing Milwaukee manager Ken Macha to summon Sunday's scheduled starter from his beleaguered bullpen.
``Just keep getting guys on base, and it'll work out,' Kubel said.
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 Sunday's scheduled starter Manny Parra (0-3) 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 on Sunday 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.
Parra issued a leadoff walk to Alexi Casilla to start the 12th, Joe Mauer followed with a single and AL batting leader Morneau - who had three hits to raise his May average to .408 - walked to load the bases.
``That's brutal,' Parra said. ``You can't walk two guys.'
One out later, Kubel sent a fly to right fielder Corey Hart, whose throw was off line and not close while Mauer streaked home.
Villanueva, who picked up the save on Thursday, the Brewers' only win in the last 12 games, needed 44 pitches to get through two innings - but escaped the 9th and 10th by leaving the bases loaded both times. The Twins stranded a runner on third base five times in the first 10 innings.
Hart was a huge help in the 10th, perfectly positioned to catch Morneau's drive to the warning track with one out and one on. Then with the bases loaded, Delmon Young - who drove in three runs - hit a ball that carried to the wall where Hart hauled it in with a fluid leap.
Hart also caught Denard Span's fly to the warning track with the bases full in the ninth to end that inning.
Instead of using Jon Rauch to start the ninth inning in a non-save situation, manager Ron Gardenhire called for left-hander Ron Mahay with two lefties due up and a 6-2 lead.
Two singles and a walk later, the ``Let's go Brewers!' chants came calling out from the Wisconsinites and transplants in the crowd and Rauch came in for a bases-loaded, none-out predicament.
Rickie Weeks hit a two-run double, and Carlos Gomez tied it with his sharp single down the left-field line. That was Rauch's second blown save in 12 attempts.
``I think we should be able to get through that,' Gardenhire said, defending his decision. ``Mahay just didn't get it done.'
Second baseman Casilla, who came in after a bruised right elbow forced Orlando Hudson out, saved Rauch from more damage with a diving catch of Ryan Braun's line drive to get Gomez at first for the double play.
But Casey McGehee drilled a double off the wall after a walk to Fielder. Left fielder Young took an awkward turn to let the ball ricochet past him and the not-so-fast Fielder to hustle home and slide in for the go-ahead run.
``You can go home and honestly say that we played a pretty good ballgame start to finish, and we gave ourselves a chance,' McGehee said. ``But it's definitely hard to keep telling yourself that.'
NOTES: The Twins are 5-0-2 in seven series at home this year. ... The Brewers are 4-6 when Gallardo starts this season. ... This was the largest crowd - 39,152 - so far at Target Field.
The Associated Press News Service
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