The resurgent Twins will attempt to win four in a row for the first time since late April on Thursday night when they host Milwaukee, which is looking to avoid its longest skid of the season.
Although third baseman Trevor Plouffe was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list before Minnesota’s 4-1 win Wednesday, he was a late scratch from the lineup after his calf cramped up during pregame sprints.
Plouffe, who hasn’t played since getting struck in the head while trying to turn a double play May 21, could be in the lineup Thursday. He’s hitting .254 with four home runs and 17 RBIs on the season.
Plouffe batted .310 with five RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak just before sustaining the concussion. He’s batted .400 with three homers in his last five games against the Brewers (19-32).
“He’s excited to be back and has done all his work,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club has won four of five to move out of last place in the AL Central. “He was approved to play, so it’s nice to have him back out there.”
While Gardenhire hopes to have Plouffe on the field as the Twins (22-28) try for a sweep of this four-game set, the Brewers will get a key member of their rotation back as they try to avoid a season-worst six-game skid.
Kyle Lohse (1-5, 3.76 ERA) is scheduled to make his first career start against Minnesota after missing his last outing because of discomfort in his elbow.
After going 1-1 with a 2.52 ERA through his first four outings, Lohse has posted a 4.80 ERA while dropping four straight decisions.
The Brewers, though, haven’t given Lohse much support, totaling six runs for him in his last five outings. His 2.78 run-support average ranks among the lowest in baseball.
Milwaukee has averaged 3.2 runs while losing 21 of 26 in May.
“Eventually we’re going to come out of this, but it’s getting old going out and losing all the time,” manager Ron Roenicke said.
Minnesota’s Aaron Hicks batting .165, has hurt the Brewers with two homers and two doubles in this series. The rookie center fielder has also made a couple of outstanding defensive plays in key moments during the set.
Teammate Josh Willingham has gone 0 for 6 against Lohse.
P.J. Walters allowed two runs in six innings of his season debut to help the Twins snap a 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 win at Detroit on Saturday.
“That’s not an easy lineup to shut down, but P.J. did a great job,” Gardenhire said. “He got us deep enough and then our bullpen finished it off.”
The right-hander, 2-5 with a 5.69 ERA in 12 starts last season, makes his first appearance against the Brewers.
He’ll try to cool off former Twin Carlos Gomez who went 2 for 4 with a double Wednesday and is 7 for 19 with four homers over his last five games.