Minneapolis, MN – Martin Maldonado's two-run home run in the ninth inning lifted the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game set.
With Matt Capps (1-4) on the mound, Corey Hart doubled to start the inning, but stayed there as the next two batters recorded outs. Maldonado, though, crushed a 2-2 pitch deep over the wall in left-center for the lead.
John Axford, who had blown saves in outings on Wednesday and Thursday against the Royals, set the Twins down in order in the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
Kameron Loe (3-2) took the win for pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings while Yovani Gallardo gave up three runs on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over six innings in the start for the Brewers, who were coming off a sweep at the hands of Kansas City. Ryan Braun hit a three-run home run in the win.
Trevor Plouffe continued his torrid pace in June with his eighth and ninth home runs of the month. Brian Dozier went 3-for-4 with a run scored while Alexi Casilla was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Twins, who have dropped four of their last five.
"That was a tough one to lose tonight," said Dozier. "Francisco pitched a great game, just one bad pitch that I bet he wishes he could have back. But it was definitely a tough loss, we were right there the whole night."
Francisco Liriano carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished the game giving up three runs on one hit, Braun's homer, with four walks and six strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Plouffe led off the fifth with a solo homer and Casilla singled home a run later in the inning to stake the Twins to a 2-0 lead.
Liriano carried his no-hitter into the sixth inning and had a 2-0 lead, but he walked Edwin Maysonet to start the inning and later walked Carlos Gomez. Braun then launched a shot over the center field wall to give the Brewers a 3-2 advantage on their first hit of the contest.
The deficit didn't last long, though, as Plouffe hit his second solo homer of the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.
"I just tried to throw my best stuff like I do every night," said Gallardo. "He's (Plouffe) been hitting everything guys throw at him and has just been tough to pitch to. When you're hot, you're hot."
Plouffe, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Friday, is batting 19-for-48 along with the nine homers, 16 RBI and 14 runs scored over 12 games in June.
Braun has a 20-game hitting streak in interleague play...Minnesota took two of three from the Brewers in Milwaukee from May 18-20...Minnesota left nine men on base...Michael Fiers pitches for the Brewers on Saturday while Liam Hendriks will take the mound for Minnesota.