MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A two-hour rain delay snappped Yovani Gallardo out of his usual pregame routine.
By the time Gallardo recovered, it was too late for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jim Thome hit a three-run homer, the 594th of his career, and Francisco Liriano worked seven strong innings to lead the Minnesota Twins over Milwaukee 6-2 on Friday night as the Brewers lost their fourth straight game and continued their troubles away from Miller Park.
Carlos Gomez opened the scoring with a home run in the top of the first, but Thome answered in the bottom half of the inning after Joe Mauer singled and Michael Cuddyer walked.
``It's just one of those things you have a mindset for a certain time, and the delay comes in and you get off your routine a little bit,' Gallardo said. ``You have the adrenaline for a certain time of day and the next thing you know it's raining. You've just got to figure out how to stay relaxed. There's not much you can do.'
Minnesota scored five runs - two unearned - off Gallardo, who has one win in his last five starts. Gallardo (9-5) allowed five hits over seven innings and struck out four. The righthander tied a season-high with four walks, with three of the free passes eventually coming around to score.
``I felt fine,' Gallardo said. ``In the fifth inning, I just think I lost my release point for the first two hitters. It's one of those things you don't know how to explain. I just lost my command there, but I was able to find it back and make pitches.'
Milwaukee made it 3-2 in the third when Ryan Braun singled to drive home Rickie Weeks and extend his career-best hitting streak to 21 games.
However, the Brewers continue to struggle on the road. They've lost five straight road games and are now 15-28 away from home, the worst mark in the National League.
``We've been through it before this year,' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. ``We're back to just not playing that well. Defensively, we haven't played that well the last few days. Offensively, we're not swinging it. ... When we went on that big roll, we were doing all those things well.'
Liriano (5-7) allowed only three hits after Gomez's homer and struck out seven. The Twins won their third straight and snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Brewers, who fell out of a first-place tie with St. Louis in the NL Central.
Minnesota added insurance runs in the fifth after Gallardo walked the first two batters of the inning. Ben Revere scored when Mauer's grounder down the first base line went through Prince Fielder's legs. Alexi Casilla came home on Cuddyer's groundout to make it 5-2.
``The walks to Revere and Casilla were huge walks,' Roenicke said. ``Those were eight out of nine pitches were balls. I don't know where that comes from. That hurt. He keeps us in the game there, 3-2. I feel good. He threw some good curveballs. He spotted his fastball. His stuff was fine. He just all of a sudden gets a little wild.'
Danny Valencia added an RBI single in the eighth. Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins pitched two innings of scoreless relief for Minnesota.
The skies turned ominous about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch and fans headed for cover during a brief rain. Shortly after the rain stopped, the team announced the rain delay due to weather forecasts. About an hour later, a heavy downpour soaked the field and sent fans scrambling for cover again.
Notes: Gomez, a former Twin, had two hits and is 12 for 31 against Minnesota, including 5 for 7 with two homers against Liriano. His .387 batting average against the Twins is his best against any team. ... Mauer went 3 for 4 for his first three-hit game of the season. ... Roenicke said he anticipated making a roster move after the game to make room for RHP Takashi Saito, who had been on the 60-day DL with oblique and back injuries. However, Roenicke later said there wouldn't be a move on Friday night. ... New Jersey Nets forward and former Minnesota Gophers basketball star Kris Humphries threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Humphries' fiancee, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, was also in attendance.
The Associated Press News Service
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