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Thome, Valencia help Twins beat Brewers 9-7

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Associated Press
July 3, 2011
— With closers Joe Nathan and Matt Capps on the roster, Glen Perkins doesn't expect to get many save opportunities for the Minnesota Twins.

He made the most of his chance Sunday.


After Capps had a second straight rough outing, Perkins ensured the Twins' seventh-inning rally held up for a 9-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.


Danny Valencia delivered another bases-loaded hit, a two-run single that capped a four-run seventh and Rene Tosoni homered and drove in three runs for Minnesota, which trailed Zack Greinke by 6-1 in the fourth inning. Jim Thome hit his 595th career homer for the Twins.


It was a reversal of about 19 hours earlier for the Twins, who blew a 7-0 lead Saturday night and lost 8-7.


"If you're not able to put one particular game in your rearview mirror, you're not going to have too much success," said Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota's lone All-Star.


Capps, tagged for four earned runs Saturday, gave up two hits in the ninth before Perkins recorded his first career save in two opportunities by striking out Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee. McGehee snapped his bat across his knee after missing a low slider.


"I'm throwing the ball well, kind of putting it where I want to right now. I'm getting out there a lot and its easy to get into a rhythm," Perkins said.


It's been an up-and-down season for Perkins, who did not allow a run in 18 of 23 appearances before spending almost a month on the disabled list with a right oblique strain. In nine appearances since his June 16 return, he's allowed two earned runs in 7 1-3 innings, striking out 10.


"So far in my big league career, this is the best I've pitched," Perkins said. "I've felt good and there's no reason not to put me out there."


Manager Ron Gardenhire said Capps remains the team's closer despite his weekend struggles.


"It was just a situation where Perk has been so good against a lefty. I thought that was a better matchup at the time. He's got the hot hand and I wanted to win the ballgame."


Mark Kotsay homered and drove in three runs for the Brewers, who lost for the fifth time in six games.


The Twins trailed 7-5 in the seventh before Cuddyer hit a two-out RBI single off Kameron Loe (2-7). Thome was walked to load the bases and Valencia had his go-ahead hit, with Kotsay misplaying the ball in left field for an error that also let Thome score on the play.


Valencia is 8 for 13 with the bases loaded this season.


"I was going to be aggressive and throw Cuddyer out at the plate and played it in between hops," Kotsay said. "If I come up with the ball, I think we have a play on Cuddyer and try to keep the game 7-7 there. I guess I have to go over and apologize to Thome for making him run from first to home."


Phil Dumatrait (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh and Nathan worked a perfect eighth for the Twins.


Greinke and Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn both were looking to bounce back from bad last outings.


Greinke, who gave up seven earned runs in two innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, allowed four earned runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out nine.


Blackburn gave up six earned runs on six hits in four innings, six days after yielding seven runs on 13 hits in 4 1-3 innings to the Dodgers. In his first four June starts, the right-hander allowed a combined six earned runs.


"I kind of over-adjusted from my last start and went out and tried to do a little too much today," Blackburn said.


Thome homered in the second and Kotsay connected in the third. Milwaukee scored five times in the fourth for a 6-1 lead.


Mat Gamel hit an RBI double, Yuniesky Betancourt singled home a run, Kotsay hit a two-run triple and Jonathan Lucroy added an RBI single.


"We came out and swung the bat well. I like what we did offensively. We didn't pitch well," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke.


Tosoni's three-run homer came in the fourth. Cuddyer had an RBI single in the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Greinke struck out Thome with two men on.


Newly announced All-Star Rickie Weeks ended an 0-for-21 slump with a home run in the Brewers sixth.


Fellow Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun sat out with a strained left calf and is considered day to day. He has a 22-game hit streak.


NOTES: Thome leads all major leaguers with 59 interleague home runs. ... Gamel got his first start at third base for the Brewers. ... Minnesota's Luke Hughes struck out three times. ... The Twins finished interleague play with a losing record (8-10) for the second year in a row. The Twins went 53-19 against the National League between 2006-09. ... Milwaukee finished interleague play 6-9.



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