Gomez helps lead Brewers past Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The first two months of the season were a struggle for Matt Garza and the Milwaukee Brewers. Carlos Gomez was hurt a couple of times and had a quiet start, too.
Maybe facing their former team, the Minnesota Twins, brought out their best. More likely, success resulted from refocusing on their aggressive styles.
Gomez went 4 for 4 with a walk and drove in three runs during the last three innings, and Garza pitched seven strong innings to help the Brewers beat the Twins 4-2 on Saturday.
"We're trying to get Carlos to just let his talent come out," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
That it did. Gomez hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh and an RBI double in the ninth for his first four-hit game in more than a year. That more than made up for being thrown out twice trying to retreat to second base.
"That's how he plays the game. It's all out. There's going to be some mistakes that are made on occasion, but he's so much fun to watch," said teammate Ryan Braun, who homered in the first inning after missing the previous two games because of his troublesome right thumb.
Garza (4-7) handed the Twins their second straight loss at home for the first time this year in front of the second-largest crowd at Target Field this season.
Gomez is batting .369 with 19 RBIs in 24 career games against the Twins, his team in 2008 and 2009. Garza, the first-round draft pick by the Twins in 2005, has a 1.66 ERA in four career starts against them.
"It's nothing personal," Gomez said, smiling. "They have bad luck, because every time I come here I'm really locked in."
Garza retired his first 11 batters before Joe Mauer beat out an infield single. Mauer drove in Brian Dozier with a single in the sixth, but Garza escaped a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the fifth and stranded Eddie Rosario at third after a leadoff double in the seventh. Garza allowed six hits while striking out three with no walks.
He realized recently how to get back on track.
"I got away from me and the way I like to pitch, and it was getting harder and harder to not only look at myself but to sleep at night," Garza said. "You can't do this game without having fun."
Twins rookie J.R. Graham made his first major league start, lasting 63 pitches and four innings.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched a hitless ninth for his 10th save in 10 tries after Dozier hit his 11th homer for the Twins off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth.
Ryan Pressly (3-2) prevented any damage despite throwing 12 straight balls to start the fifth, but he gave up a leadoff single to Jean Segura in the seventh. Gomez smacked the first pitch from Blaine Boyer, the third reliever of the inning, into center field to put the Brewers up 3-1.
"He's so aggressive that you think you might have a chance to wiggle your way out of a jam," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Not this time.
"Obviously, I don't want him to do it against our team too often, but he's fun to watch play," Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe said.
Gomez is hitting .357 over his last nine games.
"It gets us going, just the energy he puts out and him being him," Garza said. "It's exciting."