Braves rock Slowey, roll over Twins 7-3 in series finale
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MINNEAPOLIS -- It didn't take long for Kevin Slowey's hot streak to reach a screeching halt on Sunday afternoon.
The Atlanta Braves scored four runs in the top of the first, and Martin Prado and Troy Glaus each homered into the second deck in left field to chase Slowey after 4 2/3 innings and beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 at Target Field.
It was a brutal outing for Slowey, who had compiled a 0.87 earned-run average while going at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his previous three starts.
"Slowey was just up," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Battled through a couple innings, but he was up, up, up and pretty much got hammered. Never really got into a good flow. "
Slowey struck out six but gave up six runs on nine hits -- including two singles and two doubles in the first inning, when a Nick Punto throwing error brought in the Braves' fourth run.
Prado homered in the second, and after Glaus hit a blast to almost the exact same spot with two outs in the fifth, Gardenhire had seen enough.
"Even in that (first) inning, I felt like I made some good pitches," Slowey said. "They hit some good pitches, and then, of course, I left some pitches up in the zone that they hit as well."
With Denard Span getting a rare day off, Joe Mauer serving as DH and Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy still sidelined by injuries, the Twins started a lineup including four players batting .227 or worse -- Punto and Trevor Plouffe at the top of the order, Brendan Harris and Drew Butera at the bottom. They finished a combined 0-for-13 and hit only one ball out of the infield.
Delmon Young's three-run homer in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 10 games and cut the gap to four, but the Twins got only one more base-runner. Mauer, who walked to lead off the ninth and was stranded at third base.
"Delmon hit a big home run, but other than that, not a lot going for us today," Gardenhire said. "It starts with your starting pitcher, and it didn't work out."
The Twins are off on Monday before opening a three-game series against Colorado on Tuesday at Target Field.