Ryan Braun issues rude welcome to Liam Hendriks as Twins lose again
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Ryan Braun welcomed Liam Hendriks back to the big leagues by crushing two home runs on Saturday as the Minnesota Twins dropped their fourth consecutive game, 6-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his return to the starting rotation, Hendriks was unable to keep the middle of the Brewers lineup in the ballpark.
In the third inning Braun and Aramis Ramirez hit home runs on back-to-back pitches -- Braun, on a fastball down, to opposite-field into the same bushes Jim Thome found earlier in the week, and Ramirez on a hanging slider into the first row in left field.
Braun hit another solo homer off Hendriks in the top of the fifth.
I was just getting behind guys, and they were taking advantage of it," Hendriks said.
"(Braun) is swinging the bat as good as I've seen it."
Three of Milwaukee's runs came after errors by second baseman Jamey Carroll. Carroll booted groundball in the second inning while moving to his left, which helped keep the inning alive for Norichika Aoki to deliver a two-run single. He then dropped a pop-up in foul territory behind first base in the fifth while closing in on the wall, and that play kept Braun's at-bat alive for him to hit a slider into the bullpen.
Hendriks, who threw 125 pitches in 8 2/3 innings in his last outing for Rochester a week ago, lasted only five innings on Saturday. He was charged with five runs (two earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out five.
Anthony Swarzak came on in relief and promptly served up a solo homer off the facing of the left-field upper deck to Cody Ransom.
Armed with a strong curveball and cutter, Brewers right-hander Michael Fiers held the Twins to one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five in seven innings. Ben Revere's RBI single in the third inning was the only blemish.
Josh Willingham added an RBI single in the eighth off lefty Manny Parra to close the gap to 6-2.
"Not a lot to that ballgame," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think our biggest cheer came when we turned a double play. That tells you our offense was not very much."
The back-to-back home runs by Braun and Ramirez in the third inning put the Twins in the same 4-0 hole it seemed like they found themselves in for much of the first six weeks of the season.
"I come away frustrated," Hendriks said. "The fact that I was doing so well down in Rochester and I come up here and get another chance and don't put out my best foot."
5: Errors charged to Carroll this season.
7.83: Hendriks' ERA
0: Career major league wins for Hendriks
3: Walks drawn by Trevor Plouffe, which set a new personal career high. Heading into Saturday Plouffe had hit 10 home runs in his previous 14 games.
Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup with a sore hamstring. He is considered day-to-day.
Justin Morneau's sore left forearm kept him out of the lineup only one day.
Sunday: vs. Brewers, 1:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (3-4, 7.68) vs. RHP Zach Greinke (7-2, 2.96)
Monday: Off day