Twins visit Brewers as stretch run heats up

The Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers continue their border rivalry with a two-game series that begins Tuesday night at Miller Park, with plenty at stake for both teams.

Minnesota entered Monday in a tie for first place in the American League Central with Cleveland after dropping three of four home games over the weekend to the Tribe. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central and a half-game out of the second wild-card spot held by St. Louis.

Left-hander Martin Perez (8-5, 4.80 ERA) will start for Minnesota, while right-hander Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.70) gets the nod for Milwaukee.

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Perez has never pitched in Miller Park and has faced the Brewers just once in his career, allowing eight runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings of an 11-10 loss in 2016 while he was with the Texas Rangers.

He has won just once in his last 12 starts and comes in off an 11-7 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday that saw him surrender a season-high seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits over six innings.

Anderson is 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in two career starts against the Twins and has failed to earn a decision in his last four starts. He gave up six hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start on Aug. 6, a game the Brewers eventually won, 4-3, at Pittsburgh.

Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games and got Monday off after tough losses on Sunday afternoon.

The Twins, trailing the Indians 3-1 entering the bottom on the ninth, rallied to tie it against All-Star closer Brad Hand before losing 7-3 in the 10th, thanks to a Carlos Santana grand slam. What made the loss especially frustrating for Minnesota is that the potential winning run was gunned down at the plate during the ninth-inning rally.

Marwin Gonzalez's one-out double to the left field fence drove in Luis Arraez with the tying run, but Ehire Adrianza was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from left fielder Tyler Naquin to shortstop Francisco Lindor to catcher Kevin Plawecki, who was waiting at the plate with the ball.

Had third-base coach Tony Diaz held Adrianza at third, the Twins would have had runners at second and third with one out instead of a runner at second with two outs. Jonathan Schoop then grounded out to end the rally.

"Obviously we're going to back his calls and his instincts out there as our third-base coach," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said of Diaz. "And again, they made a perfect relay, and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game if they don't make that play."

"Obviously, hindsight is 20/20," Diaz told MLB.com. "But I'll take that shot any day."

"It's a long season," Gonzalez said of the Indians pulling even in the division race. "Forty-four games is a lot of time to do some damage. It's like Opening Day. We're tied."

Milwaukee comes in off a 1-0 home loss to the Rangers that saw Mike Minor toss eight more shutout innings, including getting NL home run leader Christian Yelich to strike out as a pinch hitter after a Hernan Perez double leading off the eighth.

The good news for the Brewers is that Yelich -- who hadn't played since getting four hits and two home runs in a 9-7 victory at Pittsburgh on Aug. 5 because of a sore back -- made his return.

"That's baseball, but it was good to be out there again and be healthy," Yelich told Madison.com.

Will Yelich be back for Tuesday's game?

"I mean, it looks like it," Yelich replied. "You would have to ask (manager Craig Counsell). But I feel good."

--Field Level Media

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