MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brewers threw everything they had at the Twins on Friday night: 12 hits, four home runs and an error-less defense that featured Gold Glove-worthy contributions from shortstop J.J. Hardy and left fielder Ryan Braun. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, momentum can be the trickiest of opponents.
Minnesota, the hottest team in baseball, withstood every Brewers jab and answered with a haymaker: Joe Mauer's game-winning solo home run in the eighth inning off reliever Guillermo Mota that gave the Twins a 7-6 victory and extended their winning streak to 10 games.
"I don't know what to say," manager Ned Yost said. "They hit homers, we hit homers; they got base hits, we got base hits; we didn't pitch that great, they didn't pitch that great." The back-and-forth slugfest featured five lead changes, four ties, 26 hits and seven home runs. Milwaukee took an early 2-1 lead on back-to-back home runs by Corey Hart and Russell Branyan. Jason Kubel's 419-foot solo home run into the right-field upper deck leading off the fourth put the Twins back ahead, 3-2. Milwaukee regained the advantage with a pair of two-run homers in the fifth inning by Hart and Hardy off Twins starter Nick Blackburn. Minnesota third baseman Brian Buscher brought his club back with an RBI single in the seventh to tie the game at 6. Brewers starter Seth McClung lasted only 4 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits. "Even though I didn't get the loss, I lost," McClung said. "This is my fault. Everybody else played fine. This is my fault and I take full responsibility." McClung said the two home runs he gave up were "gifts." "I put it right down the middle for them," McClung said. Still, McClung -- who was the last pitcher to defeat the Twins, picking up a victory on June 15 -- said that his pitches were good, as was his velocity. "Very hot Twins team, that's about it," said McClung, who tossed 89 pitches. "It was a struggle for Seth from the beginning," Yost added. "Anytime you get [that many pitches] in 4 2/3 innings, you know you're battling command one way or the other. [Seth] made some mistakes with pitches and he got burned." Mota received the loss after allowing Mauer's game-winner. "I threw the pitch up and in," Mota said of the fateful 96-mph four-seam fastball that missed its target. "I missed the spot and he got it." Said Yost: "That's one of the best hitters in the American League. Let's not forget that fact." Yost was also impressed with the Brewers' defense Friday in defeat. Hardy made a sprinting catch running toward left field, avoiding a sliding Ryan Braun, on a Kubel fly in the fifth. Braun threw out Michael Cuddyer at home on a Delmon Young single in the seventh, keeping Milwaukee ahead, 6-5.
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.