MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A four-run third inning sparked by Carlos Correa, Joey Gallo and Trevor Larnach vaulted the Twins to a 4-2 win Wednesday and their first series sweep of Milwaukee since 2017, handing the Brewers their sixth straight loss.
Minnesota (35-33) has won four of its past five games. Milwaukee (34-34) tied a season high for consecutive defeats and is .500 for the first time since April 1.
Twins starter Bailey Ober (4-3) recorded a season high-tying seven strikeouts and two earned runs on six hits. Relievers Brock Stewart, Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax each pitched a perfect inning of relief, with usual closer Duran playing an unconventional setup role in the eighth.
Jax earned his second career save.
A recently rejuvenated Twins lineup got hot during its second time through the batting order against starter Colin Rea (3-4). Larnach's RBI double and Gallo's run-scoring single gave Minnesota a 4-2 advantage in the third after Correa drove in a pair of runs on a triple to right-center field.
“Some of it can be like a momentum thing or flow of energy amongst the team or the team feels good and there’s good vibes going on and people are relaxed,” Larnach said.
Rea allowed four earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Nobody's happy when you're on a losing streak,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “A day off comes at a good time.”
Correa has two doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 RBIs and three walks in his past six games. That includes his first regular-season walk-off homer, which came Tuesday night.
The Twins' entire hitting group - position players, coaches and staff - gathered for an impromptu meeting during the team’s sweep at Tampa Bay last week. Since then, they've scored 30 runs in five games.
“I’ve expected our guys to be hitting the way they’re hitting right now," said manager Rocco Baldelli, whose team still leads the majors in strikeouts and strikeout percentage. “It’s summertime, and it’s time to hit.”
Back-to-back home runs by Brian Anderson and Luis Urías gave Milwaukee a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
That ignited Ober, who retired 11 of the next 13 batters he faced.
“Those two pitches, I just missed a little bit too much middle of the plate, and they put good swings on it," Ober said. "Solo home runs happen, and I tried not to let it beat me and went out the rest of the game and stayed on the same kind of attack the entire game.”
Including Wednesday, the Twins' rotation has accounted for 39 starts lasting at least six innings. Minnesota had the same number of such starts all of last season.
This, Baldelli said, is what he and general managers Rob Antony and Thad Levine envisioned when the team traded for Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray in the past two years. The rise of arms like Ober's through the franchise's minor league system has been a bonus.
“It's exactly what we had planned and were anticipating from these guys,” Baldelli said. “This is a real rotation.”
Twins: Baldelli expects CF Byron Buxton back from a rib contusion “in a day or two.” The Twins placed Buxton on the 10-day injured list June 6. The prognosis isn’t as positive for INF Jorge Polanco, who’s been out since June 10 with a left hamstring strain. Polanco "is not close to coming back,” Baldelli said. “He’s going to need recovery time and then a legitimate buildup; he’s going to have to go play in some (minor league) games, then come out of those games feeling great ... before he comes back and we feel good about sending him out there.”
The Brewers made official the signing of Dominican outfielder Raimel Tapia on Wednesday.
“I think I bring a little (chippiness) to the field, just a lot of hustle trying to run the bases hard, trying to make a single into a double and get the fans going,” Tapia, who pinch-hit in the seventh inning and struck out, said through a translator. “I’ll try to help whatever way I can.”
Brewers: Milwaukee is off Thursday before a three-game home series against Pittsburgh begins Friday. RHP Julio Teheran (1-2, 1.48 ERA) is scheduled to start.
Twins: Minnesota continues a 10-game homestead with a four-game series against Detroit starting Thursday. RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.25 ERA) is expected to start against LHP Matthew Boyd (3-5, 5.55 ERA).
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