The Brewers’ pitching woes are making it even easier on them.
The Twins look to win their seventh straight at home over the Brewers as the teams close the series Sunday.
Minnesota (26-17) swept Milwaukee at the Metrodome last season, and it’s on the verge of completing its second three-game sweep at Target Field after an 8-7, 12-inning win Saturday.
The Twins led 4-0 in the first, but Milwaukee (16-27) scored five times in the ninth, taking the lead off Jon Rauch(notes), who blew his second save in 12 chances. However, Minnesota scored in the ninth to force extras and Jason Kubel(notes) hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 12th off Manny Parra(notes).
Parra, who was scheduled to start Sunday because Doug Davis(notes) is on the 15-day disabled list with pericarditis, had to be called on Saturday after the Brewers used four relievers to pitch 7 2-3 innings in Friday’s 15-3 loss.
“You can go home and honestly say that we played a pretty good ballgame start to finish, and we gave ourselves a chance,” Milwaukee third baseman Casey McGehee(notes) said. “But it’s definitely hard to keep telling yourself that.”
Joe Mauer(notes) had four hits Saturday while Delmon Young(notes) drove in three runs, including the tying run in the ninth. The Twins have won 12 of 15 against the Brewers and averaged 7.7 runs in the last nine home games between the two.
Mauer has been particularly hot against Milwaukee, batting .325 lifetime against the club while going 9 for 18 with six RBIs the last two seasons at home.
The Brewers’ pitching woes haven’t been limited to their struggles against Mauer and the Twins. Milwaukee has lost 11 of 12 and it has a 7.43 ERA over that stretch. The bullpen is responsible for four of those defeats, posting a 9.27 ERA over the 12 games.
The right-hander has appeared in 16 games over three seasons, including two with the Nationals. In his second relief appearance this season, he threw 21 pitches in the seventh inning Saturday, retiring one batter while giving up two hits and one walk.
Carl Pavano(notes) (4-4, 4.11) will try to avoid losing his second straight start as he opposes for Minnesota. The right-hander has dropped three of his last four outings, including giving up six runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 11-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
While he hasn’t gotten the results, Pavano’s previous three outings were all quality starts.
Pavano is 2-2 with a 4.69 ERA against the Brewers. He gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings of a 14-12 loss last season against them.
Ryan Braun is 2 for 3 with a home run and a triple against Pavano, but he’s coming off a dismal performance at the plate Saturday. Braun went hitless in six plate appearances, striking out twice.