[June 03, 2014]MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza's first
season with the Milwaukee Brewers hasn't been easy.
Since flirting with a no-hitter in his first start of the year,
Garza produced up-and-down results the next two months, and he had
just one victory in his past six starts before Monday.
In the series opener against the Minnesota, though, Garza showed the
form that convinced the Brewers to give him four-year, $50 million
contract during the offseason. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings as the
Brewers beat the Twins 6-1 Monday in an interleague contest at
"He came out with a great fastball, he located it well, it had life
on it, his sliders were outstanding, and he threw good curveballs,"
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought this was a really good
game for him.
Garza (3-4) used his slider on four of his eight strikeouts. The
biggest came in the fifth inning, when he got out of a jam by
striking out Twins first baseman Joe Mauer.
Mauer entered the night with a .340 career average in 23 games at
Miller Park, and he doubled his first two times up Monday.
With runners at second and third and two outs, Garza threw a slider
for strike one. Mauer fouled off a fastball for strike two before
Garza buried a slider inside to end the inning.
"We had some momentum, and the last thing I wanted to do was go out
there and break it," Garza said. "Mauer is a great hitter. He
already hit two doubles, and I just basically said, 'If you're not
going to hit this, no one is.'
"I just tried to get it really far in there. He swung, and it worked
Garza struck out two more in the sixth, and despite having thrown
100 pitches, he came back out for the seventh. He retired shortstop
Eduardo Santana on a fly ball but allowed a base hit to
switch-hitting center fielder Danny Santana.
Roenicke turned to lefty Will Smith, who ended the inning by getting
pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez to bounce into a double play.
The Brewers have struggled to score runs in Garza's starts, but
after a slow beginning, Milwaukee finally got to Minnesota
right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-5), scoring two in the fourth on
back-to-back RBI singles by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and center
fielder Carlos Gomez.
Milwaukee added a run in the fifth on Mark Reynolds' team-leading
13th home run of the season. Lucroy hit a solo shot, his third homer
of the year, in the eighth.
"We had a good plan today," said Gibson, who allowed six hits and
four runs over six innings. "They were aggressive, and with the way
the wind was, I kind of had a feeling my sinker was going to be
moving down and in to the righties. And it was from the get-go, and
I was able to make a lot of pitches early."
Minnesota pounded out 12 hits -- six against Garza -- but went
2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
"We had chances and just couldn't come up with the big hit," Twins
manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We missed a few plays, but more than
anything else, you still feel like you've got a chance. These guys,
you always feel like you have a chance even late in the game, so
you've got to keep playing like that. We'll see what happens
Trailing 5-0, the Twins finally got on the board in the eighth on an
RBI single by left fielder Josh Willingham. They added another in
the ninth on Brian Dozier's base hit, which drove in Escobar, before
lefty Zach Duke struck out Mauer to end it.
Milwaukee, which snapped a five-game losing streak to Minnesota, won
for the fifth time in six games overall.
The Twins lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
NOTES: Twins OF Sam Fuld is showing improvement after sustaining a
concussion May 8, as he is participating in baseball-related
activities. Fuld is expected to take batting practice Wednesday
before Minnesota hosts the Brewers. ... Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez
went 2-for-4 Monday in his second rehab game with Class A Wisconsin.
Ramirez will work out Tuesday in Milwaukee, and he likely will be
activated Wednesday when the Brewers travel to Minnesota. ... Twins
coach Paul Molitor spent his first 15 major league seasons with the
Brewers, who retired his No. 4 in 1999.