The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the best offenses in the NL, but were shut down by the worst pitching staff in the league Friday night.
The Minnesota Twins look for a repeat performance while Milwaukee’s offense tries to get back on track when the teams continue their three-game interleague series Saturday at Miller Park.
Minnesota (18-24) snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with a 7-1 win in Friday’s series opener, also halting Milwaukee’s (22-20) four-game win streak.
The Twins starting rotation entered Friday’s game with a major league-worst 6.48 ERA and an AL-worst .309 opponent batting average.
The Brewers entered the game leading the NL in batting average (.273), but were limited to just six hits by Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano in his first start of the season.
Carlos Lee went 1-for-4 on Friday but failed to homer for the ninth straight game, matching his longest drought of the season. The left fielder, who spent his first six seasons in the AL with the White Sox, has 18 career home runs against Minnesota, his second-most against any opponent.
Right fielder Geoff Jenkins went 0-for-3 and had a seven-game RBI streak end Friday.
Milwaukee has bounced back well from poor offensive efforts this season. In their five previous games after scoring one run or fewer, the Brewers have plated a total of 30 runs.
On Saturday the Twins will start Scott Baker (1-4, 5.26 ERA), who is looking for his first victory since April 14.
The 24-year-old right-hander (1-4, 5.26 ERA) has lost three straight decisions, and is coming off one of the worst performances of his career. Baker allowed five runs and a career-high 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to the White Sox on Monday.
“When I didn’t make a good pitch, it doesn’t matter who it is,” Baker said. “It’s a hittable pitch, so that’s what is going to happen.”
Baker, who made 16 starts last season as a rookie, has never pitched an interleague game.
The Twins are just 6-16 on the road, and have won consecutive road games only once this season.
Tony Batista hit his ninth career grand slam as part of a five-run eighth inning on Friday, and is 9-for-20 (.450) with three doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs in his last five interleague games.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 and stole his third base of the season on Friday, and is 24-for-70 (.343) in 19 road games this season.
A Brewers starting pitcher has not recorded a win since May 12, and Saturday’s starter Ben Hendrickson (0-1, 7.50) is looking for his first win since recording the only victory of his career on Sept. 4, 2004.
Hendrickson allowed seven runs and seven hits in just 2 1-3 innings in an 8-5 loss to San Diego on May 11.
“You watch his side sessions and you watch him warming up before games, and his stuff is really good,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “(His problem is) just commanding his pitches and he’s not getting ahead in the count.”