MINNEAPOLIS – The Milwaukee Brewers are sure ready for the calendar to turn.
Confident as they might still be, this month has sure been a rough one.
Aaron Hicks homered again and made another run-saving catch for Minnesota, helping Samuel Deduno and the Twins beat the Brewers 4-1 on Wednesday night.
"You try to stay positive with guys and don't try to panic, make sure that they know that we still believe they're going to do it," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Eventually we're going to come out of this, but it's getting old going out and losing all the time."
Deduno (1-1) pitched into the eighth inning, the longest start for a Twins pitcher in more than a month, and gave up four hits and one run. He beat Marco Estrada (4-3), who was done in by a three-run first that sent the Brewers to their fifth straight loss.
They are 5-21 in May.
"Sometimes we play good games and we lose, but there are a lot of games where we don't do much, and we didn't do much today," Roenicke said.
The night before in Milwaukee, Hicks had a home run and a double that set up the go-ahead run in the 14th inning. The rookie center fielder also made a jumping grab at the wall to take a homer away from Carlos Gomez earlier in the game.
This time, Hicks snagged a sinking line drive by Rickie Weeks with a dive to end the fourth and keep Gomez from scoring. In the second inning, Hicks nearly stole a double from Gomez with a long run and leap, but the ball fell out when his glove hit the top of the fence.
That was the only break the Brewers had.
"Our lineup, I think, is still unbelievable. We've got guys on this team who are former All-Stars or MVPs and can really hit," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "It's just a matter of getting it all going at once."
Gomez scored after consecutive groundouts, the only damage done against Deduno, the lanky right-hander recalled from Triple-A Rochester last week. He gave a lagging rotation and a tired bullpen a big lift.
Deduno is one of the hardest throwers the Twins have, but he also might be their wildest. His control problems surfaced dangerously in the eighth when Jean Segura, who had six hits Tuesday, was plunked on the left wrist. Segura writhed in pain but stayed in the game. Then Ryan Braun walked, and Casey Fien relieved.
Deduno left to a standing ovation, a rarity at Target Field for a starting pitcher over the last three years. Fien immediately induced a double-play grounder by Aramis Ramirez, and then first baseman Chris Parmelee finished the inning with a tumbling catch over the railing and into the dugout of a foul ball popped up by Gomez.
Deduno's hands were clasped together in a praying position as he watched Parmelee, before reacting with a shout and a pump of his fist to cheer the grab. Earlier, when Hicks sprinted forward and caught the liner just before it grazed the grass, Deduno raised his arms above his head in celebration.
Deduno walked two and hit three batters while striking out three. The last time a Twins starter lasted this long was April 28, when Kevin Correia finished eight innings.
Glen Perkins, who let the Brewers tie the game in the ninth the night before for his second blown chance this season, pitched a scoreless ninth this time for his 11th save. Lucroy led off with a single, but Yuniesky Betancourt and Weeks struck out.
Estrada had a rough start, negating the fine work he did in the middle innings. Ryan Doumit hit a two-run, two-out double to put the Twins in front to stay, and Chris Herrmann followed with an RBI single in his first at-bat of the season. Herrmann was called up from Rochester recently, too.
"We're going to be OK. I know we are. We're too good not to be," Estrada said. "Once we get this ball rolling we're going to be a very dangerous team, and other teams aren't going to want to play us. Right now that's not the case, but tomorrow's a new day and hopefully we start it tomorrow."
NOTES: Brewers 1B/OF Corey Hart is closer to a rehab assignment for his right knee. "Every day he gets a little more confident and comfortable," Roenicke said. ... Former Twins RH Kyle Lohse (1-5, 3.76 ERA) will take the mound for the finale on Thursday. ... The Brewers are 98-123 all-time at Minnesota. They'll lose the season series to the Twins for the first time since 2009. ... Gomez has six extra-base hits in his last six games and is batting .330. He was a rookie with the Twins in 2008, the same year they drafted Hicks in the first round.