Dozier breaks out, spurs Twins victory
While the Twins took two out of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend, Brian Dozier was happy to leave the Bronx behind.
Minnesota’s second baseman had a series to forget in New York, going just 1-for-14 against the Yankees. It turns out a trip to Milwaukee was the cure for what ailed Dozier.
After picking up a pair of hits in Monday’s series opener, Dozier added three more runs Tuesday — including a two-run home run to lift Minnesota to a 6-4 win over Milwaukee.
It was Dozier’s 12th home run of the season, but his first since May 17. He hit seven homers in the first month of the year but had just four in all May, although his batting average did rise during that time. But after leading the team in home runs for two months, Dozier’s power temporarily disappeared.
That is, until he connected on a fastball from Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo to put Minnesota up 6-2 in the top of the fifth inning.
"I got a good pitch to hit. Gallardo, he fills the zone up pretty good," Dozier said. "He loves to throw his fastball and he got behind in the count. (I was) looking for a good pitch to hit, and he gave me one over the plate. I kind of delivered. I needed that."
Dozier’s two-run shot was the Twins’ second homer of the night. He happened to be on base in the top of the third inning when left fielder Josh Willingham’s three-run blast on the first pitch from Gallardo put Minnesota ahead 4-1 in the third inning.
Willingham — who now has four homers in just 15 games — joked with Dozier that he needed to find his home run stroke again.
"It was funny, right before I hit that I told him he’s been stuck on 11 for a long time. He came up with a big home run for us," Willingham said of Dozier. "I think the way he’s improved over the last three years, watching him and the way he carries himself very confidently, it’s contagious on the team. He’s done a great job of really setting the tone for us offensively a lot of times."
After an impressive start to the season, Dozier’s batting average got as high as .263 on May 20. Since that point, though, he was in a 5-for-45 slump through his difficult series in New York. In two games at Miller Park, Dozier collected as many hits as he had in his previous 11 games.
"You go through your ups and downs in a season," Dozier said. "I got in a little funk or whatever, but any time you get a chance, especially coming from New York, to get a little momentum and get things rolling as a team, once we start hitting the ball like we have done the past couple games, it makes it better for myself and everybody."
Dozier got his first of three hits Tuesday in the top of the first inning on a single to center, but he was picked off for the second out of the inning. He later singled with one out in the third and came around to score on Willingham’s three-run homer two batters later.
The biggest hit of the night for Dozier was his home run that put Minnesota up 6-2. At the time, it seemed like plenty of insurance for the Twins. Yet, after Milwaukee scored a run in the eighth and another in the ninth against closer Glen Perkins, Dozier’s homer proved to be the game winner.
Thanks in part to Dozier’s three-hit night, Minnesota now returns home to Target Field for two more games against the Brewers after winning three of five games on its recent road trip to New York and Milwaukee.
"Two very good teams, especially here in Milwaukee," Dozier said. "They’ve gotten off to a great start. Good pitching and a lot of young guys that can really swing the bat. . . . We’re not looking for a split at our place. Hopefully take two and keep this thing rolling."
FOX Sports North’s Jamie Hersch contributed to this report.
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