Jonathan Lucroy homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs, Zack Greinke pitched six strong innings to improve to 14-0 at Miller Park, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 16-4 on Sunday.
Lucroy connected on an 0-2 pitch from Jeff Gray in the seventh inning for his first career grand slam. The ball nipped the back edge of the padding in right before falling into the Twins’ bullpen. A curtain call followed for the Brewers’ catcher who batted cleanup for the first time in his three-year career. He also had a solo homer in the first and an RBI single in the second.
With the victory, the Brewers avoided being swept in a three-game series with Minnesota for the first time since Sept. 15-17, 1978, when Milwaukee was still in the American League.
Greinke (5-1) benefited from Milwaukee’s season highs for hits and runs to extend his unbeaten streak to 20 starts as a Brewer at Miller Park. He allowed one run on five hits, struck out six and walked one.
Staked to a seven-run lead early, he allowed just one run on four hits through six innings. In the seventh, Trevor Plouffe singled with one out. Second baseman Edwin Maysonet’s two-base throwing error put runners at second and third. After Denard Span walked to load the bases, Juan Perez relieved and struck out Ben Revere to end the threat.
Ryan Braun went 3 for 4 with two doubles, a single, four RBIs and two runs scored. Corey Hart also had three hits, including his ninth home run of the season.
In the fourth, Braun’s RBI double and Taylor Green’s sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 10-1. An inning later, Braun made it 11-1 with a bloop RBI single.
Norichika Aoki pinch hit for Braun in the seventh and drove in a run.
The Brewers chased Jason Marquis (2-4) with a big six-hit, six-run second inning. Braun doubled in two, Lucroy had a bloop two-run single and Hart and Travis Ishikawa each added run-scoring singles. Marquis also hit one of the 10 batters he faced in his shortest start of the season. After Ishikawa’s two-out RBI hit, Anthony Swarzak took over for Marquis and retired Cesar Izturis on a fly ball.
Hart led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot that nearly cleared the second tier of seats in left. Lucroy followed two outs later with another solo blast. It landed in the same tier in left, but just a few rows in.
The Twins’ bright spot was Revere, who kept up his strong hitting since being recalled May 17. He doubled and scored on Josh Willingham’s single in the Twins’ first. Revere came into the game batting .400 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Brian Dozier had a RBI single in the eighth for the Twins.
Minnesota scored a run in the ninth when Izturis couldn’t field Darin Mastroianni’s two-out roller to short with the bases loaded. Then reliever Kameron Loe walked in a run before retiring Dozier to end the game.
The huge lead gave Roenicke a chance to move Hart to first to start the seventh. With Mat Gamel (right knee) out for the season, Ishikawa became the starting first baseman. While Green can play there, Roenicke sees Hart as a more long-term option. Plus, with Hart at first, an outfield position opens up that would allow Carlos Gomez. Nyjer Morgan and Aoki to see more playing time.
NOTES: C Drew Butera drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and stayed in the game as the Twins’ fifth reliever. He pitched a scoreless eighth. … Hart’s home run in the first traveled an estimated 455 feet while Lucroy’s went 405 feet. … The Brewers reinstated OF Carlos Gomez from the 15-day disabled list Sunday. They had optioned INF Brooks Conrad to Triple-A Nashville after Saturday’s game. … Brewers reliever Tim Dillard was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the ninth for throwing behind Minnesota’s Jamey Carroll. … Rickie Weeks was not in the lineup for the Brewers. Roenicke hoped that the day’s rest will help his second baseman refocus. Weeks is batting .154, the worst average of any starting player in the NL. … Joe Mauer had four hits for the Twins.