Twins 7, Brewers 1

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—After throwing a five-hitter for his second career complete game, Carlos Silva still might need to get some work in.

Minnesota’s burly right-hander, in his second season as a major league starter, needed only 74 pitches—54 for strikes—to lead the Twins past the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 Friday night.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Silva’s pitch count was the lowest complete-game total in the majors in the past five seasons.

Seven batters each drove in a run to back Silva (3-2), and his fielders were flawless behind him. For a sinkerball specialist, that’s the key to success.

“There was no secret. I had to throw strikes, get ahead of the hitters,” said Silva, who struck out three without a walk and allowed only Damian Miller’s home run in the fifth inning.

Shannon Stewart and Nick Punto, holding the top two spots in the lineup, had seven hits between them to spark Minnesota, which knocked Brewers starter Gary Glover (2-3) out in a four-run second. Punto went 4-for-4, his first career four-hit game.

“I got the team in a big hole right off the bat,” Glover said. “That’s not a good thing to do.”

Milwaukee’s Jorge De La Rosa, who relieved Glover, threw 58 pitches in just 2 1-3 innings—only 16 less than Silva’s total.

“That’s ridiculous. Things were going their way,” Glover said. “I never want to see somebody beat me, but it was kind of neat to see.”

Silva, whose other complete game was an 11-hit shutout against the Angels on Aug. 3, 2004, thrives when batters are putting balls in play. That’s the Twins’ basic tenet—reliable pitching and sound defense.

“That’s what we talk about: Throw the ball over. Let the boys catch the ball,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, who won his 300th career game. He became the fastest manager in team history to that mark as the Twins won their third straight and handed the Brewers their sixth loss in seven games.

Milwaukee is 0-17 when scoring three runs or less.

Approaching the one-quarter mark of the season, Minnesota’s rotation is beginning to surge. Johan Santana, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, has actually pitched the poorest lately—but he’s still 5-2 with a 3.96 ERA and a major league-leading 72 strikeouts. Twins starters have gone six-plus innings in 32 of 40 games, and the entire staff has issued the fewest walks in the majors, 56.

They’re throwing so many strikes that it seems as if almost every batter is swinging at the first pitch.

“If you don’t have that approach with these guys you’re going to be … behind in the count all day long,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “You better be ready to hit the minute you step in the box.”

Glover got only four outs, allowing seven hits, four runs and a walk without a strikeout. The Twins got an RBI single from Michael Cuddyer, an RBI double by Stewart, an RBI single by Punto and a bases-loaded walk by Justin Morneau in the second.

Joe Mauer hit an RBI single and Torii Hunter a sacrifice fly in the fourth against De La Rosa, and Juan Castro homered off Mike Adams in the fifth to make it 7-1.

Meanwhile, Minnesota was busy making plays in the field.

Jacque Jones made a leaping catch against the right-field wall, robbing Bill Hall in the third and then firing a strike to first to double up the runner, Junior Spivey.

Castro raced to his left to snag Carlos Lee’s bouncer up the middle, taking away a hit and ending the fourth. Punto turned a nifty double play on a grounder hit by Brady Clark in the sixth.

It all added up to a nice, clean win for Silva in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 27 minutes. Joe Mays pitched a shutout on Thursday, so the Twins haven’t used their bullpen in two games.

Juan Rincon asked me if I still knew the number down there,” Gardenhire said. “So I guess they’re getting antsy.”


Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets, on the disabled list with an inner ear infection, threw a successful bullpen session in Phoenix and is scheduled to start in an extended spring training game Monday. … Paid attendance was 30,073—Minnesota’s fifth crowd of 30,000 or more this year. Last season, the Twins didn’t get their fifth such crowd until Aug. 1. … Miller was a 20th-round draft pick by Minnesota in 1990. The Brewers’ other catcher, Chad Moeller, was also a Twins draftee—in the seventh round in 1996. … Glover has given up 14 earned runs in 15 2-3 career innings at the Metrodome. His previous shortest start also came here, in October 2001 with the Chicago White Sox. … Hunter is 0-for-8 with three double plays, two strikeouts and a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded this year.

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