MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Oswaldo Arcia drove in four runs, including the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, to push the Minnesota Twins past Milwaukee 6-4 on Wednesday night for their seventh win in the last eight meetings with the Brewers.
Arcia hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning, going deep for the third time in 10 games since his recall from Triple-A, and Josh Willingham forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning before setting up Arcia’s go-ahead single with a two-out double.
Aramis Ramirez returned from the disabled list after missing 21 games with a strained left hamstring to wallop a three-run homer that tied the game at 4 in the seventh, following leadoff singles by Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez.
Ricky Nolasco (4-5), who retired 13 straight batters until that point, recovered to finish the inning and pick up the victory when the Twins rallied again in the bottom of the frame against Rob Wooten (1-3) and Will Smith, who was summoned to face Arcia. He took second on the throw home and scored on a single by Trevor Plouffe, just the second earned run against Smith all season and the first in 15 games.
Nolasco struck out seven without a walk while allowing six hits, another step forward from an awful first month with the Twins after signing the richest free agent contract in club history.
Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Ramirez started the season strong but was slumping badly when he got hurt, and the first-place Brewers haven’t missed a beat without him, with Mark Reynolds and his 13 home runs at third base. They started this string of 15 of 18 games on the road with the lead after consecutive two-out doubles by Rickie Weeks and Reynolds in the second, but for the second straight game the Twins had success against part of what has been a sturdy rotation for the Brewers.
The return of Willingham and Arcia to the heart of the order after missing a combined 74 games with wrist injuries and rehab assignments was a big boost for the Twins last week, and they gave Marco Estrada trouble.
Estrada has pitched six or more innings in 10 of his 12 starts, but only once has he finished seven. He gave up six hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Twins played Danny Santana, who has been brought up as a shortstop, in center field instead of the sputtering Aaron Hicks for the seventh time in the last 10 games, and manager Ron Gardenhire said the organization has been considering a longer-term experiment for Santana there.
“It’s a learning experience. He hasn’t done this for a while, but we sure like what he brings,” Gardenhire said.
NOTES: The four-game burst between the border-state rivals finishes Thursday, with Wily Peralta (4-5, 2.73 ERA) pitching for the Brewers and Kevin Correia (2-6, 5.87 ERA) taking the mound for the Twins. Peralta is 0-4 in his last five starts, but with a 3.64 ERA. Correia lost to Mashiro Tanaka and the Yankees in New York last week while giving up just one run in six innings. Both teams will wear throwback uniforms from the 1980s, with the Twins in their powder-blue road jerseys from that era. … Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey, put on the DL more than a month ago due to a strained groin, had an MRI Monday and saw a specialist Tuesday about his surgically repaired elbow. Next week, he will travel to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews, who performed the Tommy John ligament replacement procedure on his arm in 2012. … Gomez’s success in the No. 4 spot, where he batted for the 12th straight game, allowed manager Ron Roenicke to ease Ramirez back in at No. 5. But Roenicke said his ideal order is Gomez leading off. The Brewers have used at least four different players in each of the nine spots this season. … Twins CF Sam Fuld (concussion) will start a rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain if there are no problems after batting practice Thursday.