Slumping Brewers lose again to Twins 5-4
MILWAUKEE (AP) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will have to continue waiting for that key run to turn a game around.
The Brewers threatened in the 10th when Corey Hart singled with one out off reliever Jeff Gray (3-0). After Nyjer Morgan struck out, Ryan Braun looped the ball over second baseman Jamey Carroll and Hart raced to third on the play. But Aramis Ramirez, whose two-run homer in the eighth tied the game, popped out to center to end the inning.
"We've got to be able to score a run," Roenicke said of his team's inability to score.
The Brewers have lost six of seven, including a season high-tying four straight, and have scored just 21 runs during that stretch. Milwaukee fell to a season-worst eight games below .500.
The loss chewed through the Brewers' bullpen, with six relievers following starter Yovanni Gallardo.
"If we score runs, we're not talking about the bullpen," Roenicke said.
Plouffe's fourth homer of the season came off Parra (0-1) with two outs. Parra had retired the first two batters before Plouffe connected on a 2-0 pitch that landed in the Brewers' bullpen.
Milwaukee batters matched a season high with 14 strikeouts.
"You feel like you're fighting and trying to come back," he said. "It's one of those things. Things aren't going our way. We battled back, but we're not getting it done."
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy said that Plouffe had Parra right where he wanted.
"He got behind. He got him in a fastball advantage count for the hitter," Lucroy said. "He cheated to it and yanked it out of there."
Lucroy said Plouffe is a good high ball hitter, but if the ball was lower, it would have been an out.
"That was a big one today," Twins manager Gardenhire said. "At that point, we were all yelling for him to hit a home run. We'd been there long enough. It was a pretty exciting moment for him."
Plouffe was not available after the game.
It was the Twins' season-best fourth straight victory.
"I think everybody is coming together from our starting lineup to the pitchers to the bullpen," Ben Revere said. "We go to Detroit and sweep them. Hopefully, we can finish this thing off with a sweep. It'd be good feeling. We'd be right back in this."
Matt Capps, the fifth Twins reliever, got three outs for his ninth save.
The game turned into a battle between relievers after strong starts by Carl Pavano and Gallardo.
"Both sides threw just about everything they had out there," Gardenhire said. "It was a back-and-forth ballgame."
Ramirez's two-run homer off reliever Jared Burton in the bottom of the eighth tied it at 4. His third home run of the season came with Morgan aboard with his third single.
The Twins went ahead 3-2 in the seventh when reliever Juan Perez, who just had his contract selected from Triple-A Nashville, hit Ben Revere with the bases-loaded and the scored tied at 2. Jamey Carroll added on with a run-scoring single in the eighth.
Brian Dozier hit two bases-loaded sacrifice flies off Gallardo, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth. However, Milwaukee answered each time off Pavano with RBI singles by Lucroy in the fourth and Braun in the sixth.
Pavano, the 36-year-old right-hander, made his 300th career appearance and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Gallardo went six innings, allowing two runs - one earned - on three hits. He walked three and struck out three.
The Brewers made it 2-2 in the sixth when Morgan singled, stole second and scored on Braun's sacrifice fly.
The Twins scored an unearned run off Gallardo in the sixth. Span reached on second baseman Rickie Weeks' throwing error and then took third when Revere slapped an opposite-field double to left. Gallardo intentionally walked Morneau to load the bases for Dozier.
The Brewers answered in their half of the fourth when Lucroy laced a 1-0 pitch into center for a run-scoring single.
Notes: After the game, the Brewers optioned INF Brooks Conrad to Triple-A Nashville. The move was in anticipation of OF Carlos Gomez joining the team on Sunday after his rehab with Class-A Wisconsin concludes today. ... RHP Vinnie Chulk was designated for assignment to make room for Perez, who went 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Sounds this season.
Updated May 19, 2012