MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins hit a barrage of blasts to power past the Brewers, 11-4, on Tuesday night at Target Field. Minnesota has won the first two games of the four-game Interleague set, moving 1 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. Milwaukee remains 1 1/2 games back in the National League Central, following the Cubs' loss to the Giants.
The Twins hit five home runs, including three off Milwaukee right-hander Matt Garza during a six-run fourth inning. In his second start since returning from the disabled list, Garza took the loss, allowing a season-high eight runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings.
Max Kepler started the slugfest with a two-run homer in the third, though the most damage was done in the fourth. Eddie Rosario hit a one-out solo shot to begin the outburst, and Brian Dozier later hit a go-ahead grand slam. The next batter, Kepler, chased Garza with his second homer. Rosario added another blast in the fifth, marking the first time the Twins had a pair of players record multi-homer efforts since Aug. 3, 2011.
"There were a lot of big nights, and it was fun to watch the guys swing the bats," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You can tell [Rosario] is locked in, and Kepler is swinging better of late. Dozier had his first career grand slam and it went the other way, which was really good to see instead of getting too pull happy."
The Brewers jumped out to an early 4-2 advantage off Twins lefty Adalberto Mejia, who exited with left lateral upper arm pain after allowing three runs on seven hits in three-plus innings and went on the 10-day disabled list after the game. Keon Broxton had an RBI bunt single in the second, while Domingo Santana delivered an RBI double during a three-run fourth. Ryan Braun went 3-for-4, a home run shy of the cycle. Milwaukee went 2-3 on its road trip, ending with three consecutive losses.
"It's time for us to say, a couple really good days and we are sitting in a nice spot," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "We are sitting in a good spot right now. It doesn't feel good losing the last three, but we still have opportunity in front of us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Grand time for a grand slam: The Twins picked an opportune time to hit their first grand slam of the season. Trailing 4-3, Dozier launched a first-pitch fastball from Garza the opposite way to right field. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 378 feet with an exit velocity of 102.3 mph. It was the team's first grand slam since Byron Buxton's on Sept. 3 of last year, and the ninth extra-base hit with the bases loaded. It was also Dozier's first career grand slam.
"That was probably the most excited I've been, and not because of the grand slam, but just the fact the crowd was into it, taking the lead against a good team and where we're at," Dozier said. "It's that time of year where it kind of picks up. So that was exciting." More >
Rosario goes deep: Rosario sparked the offense by clubbing a solo shot in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 4-3. It was his 13th homer of the year, which traveled an estimated 432 feet with an exit velocity of 104.9 mph, his third-longest home run this season. Rosario later hit homer No. 14 in the fifth, which set his single-season career high. It was also his third career multi-homer game, and first since June 13.
"They were pretty much locked in. From the fourth inning on yesterday, they just started knocking the ball around," Garza said. "I didn't do my job keeping them off balance. It's one of those days where you just have to wear it."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Joe Mauer moved up a pair of all-time franchise lists following his first-inning single. The Twins' first baseman passed Tony Oliva for third on the Twins' career hit list with 1,918. Mauer also moved up to second on the all-time Twins list for reaching base, doing so for the 2,811th time. He's behind only Harmon Killebrew, who reached base 3,576 times.
"Joe is as familiar with Twins history as anybody, being from here," Molitor said. "He doesn't take for granted when he has a chance to join and pass and do those different things that happen on milestone lists."
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Milwaukee returns home for the final two games of this four-game Interleague set with Minnesota, starting with Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. CT matchup. Brandon Woodruff will make his first home start after tossing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his Major League debut against the Rays last Friday.
Twins: The Twins head to Milwaukee for two games starting on Wednesday at Miller Park. Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon is set to start, coming off a complete-game win in which he allowed four runs in a win over the Rangers last Friday.