Brewers 6, Twins 2

Ryan Braun has watched his childhood buddy Trevor Plouffe climb

up the leader board in home runs with a remarkable binge of late

that included two long balls in Minnesota’s series opener against

Braun’s Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

With Plouffe right in Braun’s rearview mirror, the reigning NL

MVP put on a show in Plouffe’s spacious backyard on Saturday to let

him know where he stands.

Braun hit two home runs and Michael Fiers pitched seven strong

innings to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-2 over the Minnesota

Twins.

”I can’t let Trev surpass me in homers or I will never hear the

end of it,” Braun said with a smile. ”It’s my motivation to not

allow Trevor Plouffe to pass me in home runs, which is not easy to

do. Luckily we didn’t throw him any strikes today. He only got to

swing the bat once.”

Braun added a double and a walk to back Fiers (2-2), the

right-hander who gave up one run on four hits with five strikeouts.

Aramis Ramirez and Cody Ransom also homered for the Brewers, who

have taken the first two games in this interleague series.

Liam Hendriks (0-3) gave up five runs – two earned – on eight

hits in five innings in his first start since being recalled from

Triple-A Rochester. Plouffe went 0 for 1 with three walks, ending

his streak of four straight games with a homer as the Twins lost

their fourth straight.

”They weren’t giving me much to hit today,” said Plouffe, who

leads the majors with 13 homers since May 16.

Ben Revere had two hits and an RBI for the Twins. Joe Mauer

didn’t start because of a sore hamstring, but grounded out in a

pinch-hit appearance in the ninth to end the game.

Norichicka Aoki had two hits and two RBIs for the Brewers.

Braun is hitting .322 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs this season,

even better numbers than at this point last year when he won the NL

MVP award.

In eight interleague games this year, Braun is hitting .515 (17

for 33) with five home runs and 14 RBIs. The numbers are even more

impressive considering Braun spent much of the offseason winning an

appeal of a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test and he no

longer has Prince Fielder hitting behind him for protection.

”I’m like a little kid in the dugout,” Fiers said. ”I want to

watch every at-bat he has.”

Braun and Plouffe have been friends for the better part of 15

years. Plouffe played baseball with Braun’s younger brother growing

up in California and got to know Braun, who is two years older,

quite well. They share the same agent and work out together in the

offseason.

”He’s a special player,” Plouffe said. ”We’ve got to contain

him. Can’t let him beat us.”

The Brewers were much more careful with Plouffe, who went deep

10 times in the previous 14 games, on Saturday. Fiers didn’t give

him much to hit in the first two at-bats, walking him twice before

getting him to fly out to left in the seventh.

The Twins probably should’ve taken a similar approach with

Braun.

Braun and Ramirez went back-to-back in the third inning, the

second time this season the Brewers have gone deep two hitters in a

row. Braun’s solo shot was a rare opposite field homer for a

right-handed hitter at Target Field, landing in the flower bed

above the scoreboard in right-center.

”He’s just got tremendous power,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke

said. ”There’s really no ballpark that can hold him in when he’s

hitting the ball well. When you see a guy going right-center, a

right-hander in this ballpark, it’s struck really well.”

Braun got a little help in the fifth to get a crack at another

one. He lifted a fly ball down the first base line and second

baseman Jamey Carroll couldn’t hold on to the ball after a very

long run, getting charged with a tough error on the play.

Braun hit the next pitch into the bullpen in left-center field,

giving the Brewers a 5-1 lead.

”I put too much of it out over the plate and he hit it a ton,”

Hendriks said.

NOTES: Ransom’s HR was his first in 19 games with the Brewers

since being claimed off waivers from Arizona. … Brewers RHP Marco

Estrada (right quad) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with

Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. … Willingham was at DH rather

than his usual spot in LF to rest an achy knee. … Twins 1B Justin

Morneau returned to the lineup after missing the game Friday night

with a sore left forearm. He went 0 for 4, including a

rally-killing double play in the eighth inning. … The Twins will

send RHP Nick Blackburn (3-4, 7.68) to the mound for the series

finale on Sunday against Zack Greinke (7-2, 2.96). Greinke has

allowed one run or fewer in six of his last seven starts.