MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Milwaukee Brewers were a mess, from their starting pitcher’s meltdown at the beginning to their center fielder’s taboo act at the end.
The Minnesota Twins took full advantage—and tried not to be too upset at their old teammate.
“Score a touchdown, and it goes from there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Kubel drove in four runs and drew one of eight walks handed out by the Brewers. Bush was in strong disagreement about the second one, yelling at home plate umpire Ed Rapuano for calling ball four on a close pitch to Michael Cuddyer(notes) with the bases loaded to force in the first run.
“I thought it might have been a strike. He didn’t. He’s the one who makes the calls,” Bush said.
“I was pretty heated about it, and so was he,” Bush said. “I probably shouldn’t have reacted quite that way.”
After a pep talk from pitching coach Rick Peterson, Bush promptly served up a sharp two-run single to Kubel. He shrugged off the significance of his tiff with Rapuano.
“I was already going bad by that point,” Bush said.
Trevor Plouffe(notes), facing his first pitch as a major leaguer, was next to knock in a run with a single to stretch the lead to five. Bush (1-5) lasted two more batters, recording only one out in the shortest start of his career before Jeff Suppan(notes) was summoned.
The Twins put up five more runs in the fourth inning against Suppan, and Nick Blackburn(notes) (5-1) breezed through a Brewers lineup that had the free-swinging, free-spirited Carlos Gomez(notes) back from the disabled list to face his old team but little else to be happy about.
Blackburn only allowed four hits over the first seven innings before Gomez’s soaring three-run homer in the eighth.
“Some things never change,” said Gardenhire, who grew weary of Gomez’s inconsistent, undisciplined style over the last two seasons despite his array of natural talent. “That irritated a few people.”
Blackburn was more diplomatic.
“That’s the guy he is. He gets so caught up in the moment,” Blackburn said, adding: “I don’t have too bad feelings. I don’t want to fight the guy or anything.”
As for Gomez?
He was extra apologetic.
“I don’t want to try to show him up,” Gomez said. “If they’re going to do something tomorrow, I’ll take it like a man. I know I did it bad.”
Since elbow soreness pushed back a start in late April, Blackburn has been by far Minnesota’s best starter. He’s 4-0 in May, completing 30 1-3 innings and giving up only nine runs and five walks.
He was on the mound last Sunday in New York when the Twins ended their losing streak to the Yankees, and this was another fine time for the right-hander to take the ball following completion of a 2-5 road trip against AL East teams.
The Twins, who have baseball’s best interleague record since 2006 at 54-19, are 18-7 against the Brewers during that time. They’ve outscored them 173-102 in that span, too.
NOTES: Plouffe had two hits and two RBIs in his debut at SS for the Twins. He got a groundball hit to him on the first pitch of the game and was nearly flawless in the field. “I think this is about as good as it gets,” he said. … Plenty of Brewers fans snagged tickets to the 17th official sellout in 19 games at Target Field, and one of them went home with an engagement ring. Her fiancee, wearing a Twins hat, proposed in the middle of the sixth inning. … The Twins are 7-1 in Blackburn’s starts. … Jonathan Lucroy(notes) singled in his major league debut in the eighth for the Brewers. He was brought up to fill in while C Gregg Zaun(notes) is on the DL. … Brewers manager Ken Macha was noncommittal about the role for slumped closer Trevor Hoffman(notes). Macha, Hoffman and Peterson had a “very constructive conversation” before the game. “He’s open to anything that will help the club,” Macha said.