Brewers 11, Twins 3

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Milwaukee manager Ned Yost isn’t sure if the no-hitter Detroit’s Justin Verlander threw Tuesday served as a wake-up call. But it must have done something to jump-start the Brewers.

Geoff Jenkins hit a grand slam and Prince Fielder added a two-run shot to power Milwaukee past the Minnesota Twins 11-3 on Friday night, extending the Brewers win streak to three for the first time since a six-game stretch May 4-9.

“I don’t know what you call it, I really don’t,” Yost said. “But there’s been a bit of a different feel from that point. It’s hard to explain.”

The Brewers are suddenly showing signs of returning to the form that got them off to a 24-10 start. Milwaukee is just 13-20 since then, but still has a comfortable lead in the NL Central.

Twins starter Scott Baker (1-2) cruised through the first three innings before hitting a wall in the fourth.

After Ryan Braun and Fielder singled to start the inning, Baker struck out Bill Hall. The right-hander had two strikes on Johnny Estrada before hitting him to load the bases.

Jenkins, who entered the game with 15 hits in his last 80 at-bats, followed with a drive over the baggie in right field to clear the bases. The veteran outfielder finished 3-for-5.

“Seems like a team, no matter who it is, starts scoring some runs, everyone relaxes,” Jenkins said.

Did the no-hitter from Verlander help refocus everyone?

“There ain’t nothing great about getting no-hit,” Jenkins said. “It’s not like mentally you feel great after a game like that. This team is resilient and everyone’s confident. We know we can play good baseball.”

Estrada also went 3-for-4 for Milwaukee, which had 15 hits.

“We’re starting to turn it around. It’s a long season,” Hall said. “We’ve got a number of guys that can pick it up on any given day and that’s what we’re doing.”

Baker was pulled with two outs in the fifth after Hall lined a two-run double to left to give Milwaukee a 6-1 lead.

The Twins tried to chip away at the lead and Brewers starter Claudio Vargas (5-1). Jason Kubel cut the lead to four with a solo homer in the fifth and Justin Morneau added an opposite-field home run the next inning.

But Fielder ended any hopes of a comeback in the seventh with a 409-foot home run off the Twins’ AL Central championship banner in right-center field. The blast prompted a small contingent of Brewers fans in the Metrodome to begin chanting “MVP! MVP!”

Vargas pitched six innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out five.

Brian Shouse pitched three perfect innings for his first save of the year.

Baker, who was pitching for the first time in 10 days after having his spot skipped in the rotation, has struggled since beating the Brewers on May 19 after being called up from Triple-A. Since that win, he is 0-2 with a 9.63 ERA.

Baker yielded six runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings Friday. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Baker was having trouble seeing the signs from Redmond because of contact lens problems.

When asked if that was the case, Baker said he doesn’t wear contacts.

“I guess Redmond called for a pitch over and I just didn’t see it,” he said. “Then there were some pitches where I couldn’t see between the one or the two fingers, but I don’t think we ever got crossed up.”

Before Friday’s game, Gardenhire said Baker needs to “fit in now” as the Twins (33-32) are approaching a difficult portion of their schedule. If he doesn’t fit in soon, possible replacements in the rotation include prospect Matt Garza or former starter Ramon Ortiz.

“We’ve pretty much gone through our system here,” Gardenhire said. “We don’t have that many options. We’ve got Garza down (in Triple-A) who we think is getting pretty close, and guys like that. We’ll have to sit back and think about it.”

Notes

Jenkins’ grand slam was the fourth of his career. … Twins second-baseman Luis Castillo entered the game hitting .382 against righties, the best in the majors. … Entering Friday, the Brewers had scored 44.6 percent of its runs by way of home runs, second most in baseball. … Before Fielder’s home run off reliever Ortiz in the seventh, the Twins bullpen had not allowed a run in 15 1-3 innings.

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