Hicks backs Deduno as Twins win third straight

Another big catch, homer by center fielder help down Brewers

Hicks backs Deduno as Twins win third straight

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's becoming somewhat of a trend for Aaron Hicks -- after making a sensational play in the field, he comes up to the plate and hits a homer.

He first did it May 13, when he robbed Adam Dunn of a homer and then hit two shots of his own, and again Tuesday, when he stole a homer from Carlos Gomez and then crushed a homer in his next at-bat.

And Hicks was at it again Wednesday, as Samuel Deduno turned in seven-plus strong innings and was backed by Hicks, who had an impressive night both at the plate and in center field, to lead the Twins to a 4-1 win over the Brewers at Target Field.

Hicks stole the show, as he made a diving catch to rob Rickie Weeks of an RBI single in the fourth and then homered in the bottom half of the inning. It directly followed Hicks' robbing Gomez, homering and scoring the winning run in Tuesday's 5-4 win in 14 innings in Milwaukee.

"I don't know, but right after making a great play I just feel confident," Hicks said. "Every time I hit it after that it seems to go out of the ballpark."

It is certainly a tendency that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire does not mind seeing from his rookie center fielder.

"I'm fine with it," Gardenhire said. "If he wants to make a great catch and then hit a homer the rest of his career, that's OK. It's fun to watch."

Deduno, making his second start of the year, held the Brewers to just one run on four hits and two walks to pick up his first win of the season. The right-hander also struck out two and hit three batters.

"I felt pretty good," Deduno said. "We had pretty good defense. And I threw first-pitch strikes. And Hicks and [Pedro] Florimon made nice plays."

Hicks' display in the fourth inning came after the Twins scored early against Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada. Minnesota scored three times with two outs in the first, with Ryan Doumit lacing a two-run double and scoring on a single from Chris Herrmann.

The Brewers scored in the second, when Gomez led off the frame with a double off the glove of Hicks in left-center field. Hicks made a leaping attempt, and the ball hit the heel of his glove but came out when he hit the wall. Gomez later came around to score on a two-out single from Yuniesky Betancourt.

Milwaukee had a chance to add another run in the fourth, when Weeks hit a likely RBI single to center to score Gomez, but Hicks made his diving catch to deny Weeks.

"He's killing us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Hicks. "He's definitely a good defensive player. He made a big play to save a run on the ball Weeks hit."

Hicks followed his stellar catch in center with a solo shot off Estrada with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. It was the sixth homer for Hicks, who now has three homers from each side of the plate after hitting it out left-handed.

"You see what he can do," Gardenhire said. "You can see how athletic he is going against the wall out there tonight, coming out of nowhere to almost make the play. If he didn't hit the fence, he would've. And then the other play was unbelievable with the jump he got. And then hitting the home run. He's confident right now."

It was enough offense for Deduno, who was able to pitch into the eighth inning but was removed after plunking Jean Segura and walking Ryan Braun with nobody out. But reliever Casey Fien was able to get Aramis Ramirez to ground into a double play and Gomez to pop out on a nice play from Chris Parmelee to end the inning. Parmelee ended up in the camera well while making the catch but was uninjured on the play.

Closer Glen Perkins bounced back after blowing the save in Tuesday's game to pick up his 11th save of the year and preserve a third straight win for the Twins.

"You can't take it back out there, and I think it goes for any reliever and not just closers," Perkins said. "If you have a tough one, you have to go back right out. And fortunately enough, I was able to go back out the next night."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.