MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jason Marquis was hit hard in his shortest start of the season and the Minnesota Twins couldn’t contain Jonathan Lucroy.
Marquis allowed eight runs in 1 2-3 innings, done in by Milwaukee’s six-hit, six-run second inning, and the Brewers went on to beat the Twins 16-4 on Sunday.
Lucroy homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs, and Zack Greinke pitched six strong innings to improve to 14-0 at Miller Park for the Brewers.
In Milwaukee’s second inning, Ryan Braun doubled in two runs, Lucroy had a bloop two-run single and Corey Hart and Travis Ishikawa each added run-scoring singles. Marquis (2-4) also hit one of the 10 batters he faced. After Ishikawa’s two-out RBI hit, Anthony Swarzak took over for Marquis and retired Cesar Izturis on a fly ball.
“I’m putting the team in a hole every time I step on the mound,” Marquis said after losing his fourth straight start. “I can’t get it right right now. They hit good pitches and bad pitches.”
Marquis’ last victory was April 29 when he beat Kansas City.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the Brewers’ batters just didn’t miss as his club lost a chance to win five games in a row for the first time this season.
“They seemed to hit everything we threw up there,” he said. “Everything Marquis threw was up and you can’t have that from your starter.”
Lucroy connected on an 0-2 pitch from Jeff Gray in the seventh inning for his first career grand slam. The ball nipped the back edge of the padding in right before falling into the Twins’ bullpen. He also had a solo homer in the first.
With the victory, the Brewers avoided being swept in a three-game series with Minnesota for the first time since Sept. 15-17, 1978, when Milwaukee was still in the American League.
Greinke (5-1) benefited from Milwaukee’s season highs for hits (17) and runs to extend his unbeaten streak to 20 starts as a Brewer at Miller Park. He allowed one run on five hits, struck out six and walked one.
Staked to a seven-run lead early, he allowed just one run on four hits through six innings. In the seventh, Trevor Plouffe singled with one out. Second baseman Edwin Maysonet’s two-base throwing error put runners at second and third. After Denard Span walked to load the bases, Juan Perez relieved and struck out Ben Revere to end the threat.
Braun went 3 for 4 with two doubles, a single, four RBIs and two runs scored. Hart also had three hits, including his ninth home run of the season. Taylor Green’s sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 10-1. An inning later, Braun made it 11-1 with a bloop RBI single. Norichika Aoki pinch hit for Braun in the seventh and drove in a run.
Gardenhire turned to his catcher Drew Butera to pitch the eighth after using four relievers after Marquis.
“Butera looked like a catcher pitching,” Gardenhire said. “He said he pitched in high school so that’s the only reason why I put him out there.”
The Miller Park radar gun recorded one of Butera’s pitches at 94 mph.
The game got a little chippy in the Twins’ ninth.
Milwaukee reliever Tim Dillard threw behind Jamey Carroll leading off the inning and was promptly ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Three Brewers had already been hit in the game.
“We pretty much stunk up the field, so there’s no need for us to be throwing at anybody,” Gardenhire said.
The Twins’ bright spot was Revere, who kept up his strong hitting since being recalled May 17. He doubled and scored on Josh Willingham’s single in the Twins’ first. Revere came into the game batting .400 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Brian Dozier had a RBI single in the eighth for the Twins.
Minnesota scored a run in the ninth when Izturis couldn’t field Darin Mastroianni’s two-out roller to short with the bases loaded. Then reliever Kameron Loe walked in a run before retiring Dozier to end the game.
Hart led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot that nearly cleared the second tier of seats in left. Lucroy followed two outs later with another solo blast. It landed in the same tier in left, but just a few rows in.
NOTES: Joe Mauer had four hits for the Twins. … Revere has a seven-game hitting streak. … Twins pitchers have surrendered a major-league leading 58 home runs.
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