MILWAUKEE – It’s coming from everyone, now. From rookie relievers to shortstops who had lost their starting jobs to the bottom of the batting order.
The Twins are on roll, with their tread marks all over the Brewers after their 7-2 victory on Thursday gave them wins in both games at Miller Park and all four games this week against their interleague rivals. And they have finally ended the win-four-lose-four deviation that has marked their season, as they now have won five straight games for the first time.
“We’re playing good,” said Jorge Polanco, whose slump landed him on the bench recently but who was 2-for-4 on Thursday and is a sizzling 14-for-28 during his eight-game hitting streak. “We have a chemistry. We’re playing well. We want to win. All of that put together is why we are playing so well.”
The Twins are a half-game out for the second AL wild-card spot — but half the league feels it has a shot there. What Thursday’s game also did was move them into second place in the AL Central, 3½ games behind Cleveland.
They have a weekend series in Detroit that they can use to gain even more momentum before the Indians come to town next Tuesday.
“We’re energized,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You could feel it. I think these guys are enjoying kind of an underdog role here, and we have been able to put together a little run here.
“Now we go to Detroit, to a team that has been tough on us this year and last year. So we’ve got a chance to turn that tide around.”
Only one of the Twins’ 12 hits Thursday went for extra bases, but they bunched them to score three runs in both the second and third innings to take control early. In addition to Polanco, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer each had three hits.
The Twins have been spoiled over the past week by complete games from Ervin Santana and Bartolo Colon. But when lefthander Dietrich Enns was lifted in the third inning of his major league debut, righthanders Alan Busenitz and Ryan Pressly combined for 4⅔ scoreless innings to reach the eighth. Righthander Tyler Duffey and lefthander Buddy Boshers finished up. Busenitz got the win, his first in the majors.
“There’s a lot of ways to get it done,” Molitor said. “I think that adds to the confidence, collectively.”
Four straight hits and an error in the second allowed the Twins to take a 3-0 lead. Buxton and Polanco each had RBI singles, and a run scored when Travis Shaw misplayed Jason Castro’s grounder.
Keon Broxton homered off Enns in the second, but the Twins scored three more times in the third on sacrifice flies by Eddie Rosario and Castro sandwiched around another Buxton RBI single. The Twins led 6-1, a nice cushion for the newcomer.
Enns, however, loaded the bases in the third, which started with him pulling Mauer off the bag with a high throw that allowed Orlando Arcia to reach. Three batters later, Enns walked in a run and was lifted.
“That was terrible,” Enns said. “The ball just sailed on me. I make the play all the time.”
No problem on Thursday, because the Twins are picking each other up these days.
Polanco knows they are clicking, although he’s not sure about playing up the underdog angle.
“People talk. It is what it is,” he said. “We don’t see it that way. We are just going to go out there and try to win every day.”