MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Now that Luis Rivas is starting to hit, he’s been able to win games with his speed.
Rivas singled with one out off Brewers closer Mike DeJean (2-5) and stole second. Guzman then hit a chopper to Richie Sexson and beat the first baseman’s flip to DeJean covering on the play. DeJean hesitated before throwing home and had no chance to get the sliding Rivas, who never broke stride coming around third.
“Luis is one guy who makes things happen,” said teammate Doug Mientkiewicz, who hit a tying sacrifice fly in the ninth for the Twins. “He has the ability to take over a game with his legs.”
Sexson credited Guzman’s ability to chop the ball off the turf and allow the Twins to use their speed.
“I was playing deep trying to keep everything in the infield,” Sexson said. “If I tried to come and get it, I’d get short-hopped. It was definitely a turf win for them.”
Rivas had three hits Sunday, increasing his average to .271 after spending much of April and May near .200. He’s been the sparkplug for recent Twins’ wins, dashing home from first base on a single to score the tying run in a rally that helped beat the White Sox on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling a lot better at the plate,” Rivas said. “I keep working at it and try my best to help the team.”
LaTroy Hawkins (5-2) pitched one inning of scoreless relief for the Twins, who won a series for the first time in five tries and moved into a first-place tie with Kansas City in the AL Central.
Minnesota, which had two runners thrown out on the bases in the eighth inning, rallied for two runs in the ninth off DeJean. Pinch-hitter Justin Morneau’s single scored Lew Ford to bring Minnesota within 4-3, and Mientkiewicz’s sacrifice fly scored Guzman with the tying run.
Before the Twins ninth-inning rally, the Milwaukee bullpen had allowed just one run in five innings. Scott Podsednik had three hits for the Brewers to finish off an 8-for-12 series.
Rick Reed gave up four runs and six hits in six innings for Minnesota.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Chris Guccione.
The Brewers scored two runs off Reed in the third, and Gardenhire was unhappy with a few of Guccione’s two-strike calls when Milwaukee was at-bat. In particular, Royce Clayton walked on a close 3-2 pitch with Keith Osik running with the pitch. Instead of a potential inning-ending double play, the Brewers had runners at first and second with one out.
After Guccione called the first strike on Corey Koskie in the bottom of the third, Gardenhire hollered at Guccione from the edge of the dugout and was tossed.
“There was a lot of hooting and hollering in our dugout,” Gardenhire said. “I knew someone was going to get run. I figured it might as well be me.”
Milwaukee scored twice more in the fifth. Clayton tripled with one out and came home on Podsednik’s single. Podsednik eventually scored on Sexson’s sacrifice fly, using a hook slide to avoid catcher Matthew LeCroy’s tag.
For the second day in a row, the Brewers had a pitcher making his first start for the club. Rookie lefty Matt Ford got the start Sunday after 21 relief appearances with the team this season.
Ford lasted three innings, allowing one run and four hits and three walks.
Gardenhire has been ejected four times this season and eight in his two-year managerial career. … The Brewers were 5-7 and the Twins 10-8 in interleague play. … Kielty narrowly missed a home run when his long drive hit the top of the center-field fence and bounced back into play for a double in the third. … Sexson, known for his towering home runs, hit a high popup in the second inning that hit the Metrodome roof and dropped straight down into the glove of Twins third baseman Koskie. … Koskie went 0-for-5, being held hitless for only the fifth time in 25 games in June. He is batting .411 in June.