MILWAUKEE -- Ricky Nolasco confounded Brewers hitters for parts of seven innings and Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier homered as the Twins beat the Brewers on Thursday, 8-1, to split the team's four Interleague games this week.
Nolasco pitched with a lead throughout after the Twins struck for a pair of runs in the first against struggling Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann, who issued two of his career-high six walks during the frame. Jungmann was out of the game before recording his first out of the fifth and fell to 0-3 with an 8.47 ERA after four starts.
Nolasco, meanwhile, baffled the Brewers with his breaking ball in his 250th Major League start. He retired 12 consecutive hitters in one stretch from the second inning through the sixth, and he won for the first time this season after allowing one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
"I think in about the third inning -- I don't think he was on to start the game -- but in about the third inning, his breaking stuff got really good," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He got command of his curveball and his slider, and he used it as well as anybody we've seen so far this year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Twins jump out to early lead: The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the first, and Eddie Rosario came through with the club's first hit with the bases loaded this season. They were previously 0-for-10 in those situations. Eduardo Escobar followed with an RBI groundout to give them an early two-run lead.
"Didn't you see me look up at the press box after that one?" joked Twins manager Paul Molitor, who was told before the game his team was hitless with the bases loaded. "We're now 1-for-11. At least we're on the board."
Braun strikes again:Ryan Braun's first-inning RBI double put the Brewers on the board and continued a big week for the right fielder, making him 7-for-10 with four walks and five RBIs in three-plus games against the Twins up to that point. Nolasco would strike out Braun in two subsequent matchups, however.
"He's not the kind of guy where you can look for a specific pitch, because he can throw any of his four pitches at any time," Braun said. "He was on top of his game today. We had our hands full, so you just move on to the next game."
Nolasco keeps it going: Nolasco has unexpectedly been Minnesota's best starter early this season, and he turned in another strong outing against the Brewers. Nolasco went at least seven innings in his first two starts, and while he didn't reach that mark Thursday, he still struck out a season-high seven batters.
"The slider was pretty good, and I was able to mix in some curveballs and sink the ball when I needed to," Nolasco said. "I think the key thing today was the slider. It's always been a good put-away pitch for me." More >
In a pinch: It did not impact the game, but it was worth noting in the seventh inning when Alex Presley came off the Brewers' bench to knock a pinch-hit single that ended Nolasco's fine outing. Brewers pinch-hitters were 1-for-19 this season before the hit by Presley, who was promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game. More >
"We've got to do a better job preventing runs. We've got to give ourselves a chance more often."-- Counsell, whose club has allowed a Major League-worst 84 earned runs this season
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nolasco is one of only 20 pitchers categorized as "active" in Baseball-Reference.com's database with 250 career starts. The Mets' Bartolo Colon leads active pitchers with 470 starts and counting.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Counsell took a shot on a replay review in the seventh inning after Rosario stole second base on a close play. The call was confirmed, however, and Rosario was safe.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Zach Davies will make his second Brewers start in place of an injured Matt Garza when Milwaukee hosts the Phillies for the first of three games on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Davies didn't have much defensive help in his season debut in Pittsburgh, where he was charged with six runs (five earned) in 2 1/3 innings.
Twins: The Twins head to Washington for a three-game series that begins on Friday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Kyle Gibson is set to start and is looking for his first win despite posting a 3.57 ERA through his first three outings this season. It's Minnesota's first trip to D.C. since 2013.