Few offenses in baseball are as hot as the Brewers'.
Milwaukee has notched 10 or more hits in 10 of its past 12 games, and while the Brewers barely missed that mark on Monday night against Minnesota (nine hits), they still picked up a 6-2 victory.
Manager Ron Roenicke loves the firepower, but also wishes his team would score more reliably. Despite the impressive run, they still dropped three games during a franchise-record nine-game streak of double-digit hits that ran from May 21-30.
"Could we spread out those runs a little bit?" Roenicke joked. "I'd like us to be a little more consistent. But I think we knew that going in; we knew what kind of team we had. We know there will be some ups and downs and that we didn't have big on-base guys. We knew there would be challenges."
The Twins have much lower standards of offensive consistency.
Counting Monday night's loss, Minnesota has only managed more than two runs four times in the past 12 games. But manager Ron Gardenhire was impressed with a six-run ninth inning in Sunday's 7-2 come-from-behind win at Yankee Stadium.
"It was kind of fun," Gardenhire said. "I mean, we've been kind of going through some scuffles. To have a big inning like that was pretty cool. In New York, win a series and kind of find our offensive swing a little bit. Hopefully, we'll carry it over."
Minnesota took two of three in New York, but has now lost eight of 11 games. On Tuesday night, the Twins will turn to Samuel Deduno to get pointed back toward .500.
Deduno (1-3, 3.86) had his roughest outing of the season last Thursday against the Rangers, when he gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He picked up a no-decision in a 5-4 loss.
The Brewers will counter with Yovani Gallardo (3-3, 3.56), who has only earned a win once in his past nine starts. That win, however, came in his most recent appearance, when he tossed 6 2/3 innings and five strikeouts against three earned runs in an 8-3 victory against Baltimore.
Gardenhire noted that the Brewers rotation, which includes former Twins Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse, is a tough one to get through.
"They've got some pretty good players, a good mix of some veterans in here who know how to win along with some young people that can really play," Gardenhire said. "They've had some good starting pitching, with the guy you'll see [tonight], and they go out and get Lohse and Garza, that's pretty good pitching, and it starts with that."
Twins: Santana back in center field
Center fielder Danny Santana returned to Minnesota's lineup on Monday, three days after sustaining a laceration above his left eye that required seven stitches during Friday's game against the Yankees.
Gardenhire said he was confident in Santana's ability to play after warming him up during batting practice.
"He was lobbying pretty hard to play yesterday, and we were actually going to pinch-run him if we had the chance," Gardenhire said. "I told him to go out there today, put the helmet on, see how he was feeling. He was feeling great, running around center field all over the place. The trainers told me he's fine, and if the kid says he really wants to play, we're good."
Santana was 2-for-4 on Monday night with a strikeout. He also made an ill-advised throw to home plate in the fourth inning that allowed Jonathan Lucroy to advance to second base.
Brewers: Building leads a strength
Roenicke noted that his team has been adept at shutting out hope for the opposition by building upon early leads.
"It's great to score early, but don't stop," he said. "Any time we've added runs, games always seem to go well. It's important for those guys to know that they need to keep on that pitcher, don't let up because all of a sudden, the guy who gives up three in the first inning has gone six or seven innings against you, and you can't let that happen."
The Brewers listened to their skipper on Monday night, when they built an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, and then quickly added on two more in the fifth.
• Gallardo has given up at least three earned runs in each of his past six starts. He only allowed one earned run in seven innings against San Diego on April 22.
• Deduno hit 100 pitches in his last start for the first time in 10 tries. Previously, he had hit the century mark in 15 of his first 28 career starts.
• Gomez, who began his career in Minnesota, has a career .360 average (22-for-61) against the Twins, his highest against any team in baseball.