Fielder's clutch hit lifts Brewers over Twins

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Saturday, June 25, 2011
— Prince Fielder believes winning as a team brings out the best years of individual players. The Brewers slugger, who is on the doorstep of free agency, is doing both for Milwaukee.

Fielder doubled in the go-ahead runs with two outs in seventh inning to raise his NL-leading RBI total to 65 and rally the Brewers over the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Friday night.

"Whenever you have a good team and you're winning, that usually brings out the best years in guys," Fielder said. "I'm just happy we're winning. That makes it easier to come to the field, makes it easier to play. I just want to keep winning. I think all the numbers will take care of themselves."

It was Fielder's 16th go-ahead RBI of the season and seventh game-winning RBI this year in 77 games for the Brewers, who are in first place by a game over St. Louis in the NL Central.

"Right now, I'm on the team and trying to help us win in 2011. That's what I'm paid to do," Fielder said. "We have a good team. That makes it easier. The contract thing, it is what it is. I think it's a business, but this year I'm with the Brewers and after that, I don't know."

Milwaukee is 2-2 on this interleague homestand after a back-and-forth affair with their border rivals. The Brewers led 2-0 on doubles by Corey Hart in the fourth and Ryan Braun in the fifth.

Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer off Randy Wolf (6-4) to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead in the sixth, but Fielder answered the next inning off reliever Jose Mijares.

"Very disappointing loss for our ballclub," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was upset Mijares threw a full-count fastball to Fielder. "We ended up making a bad pitch to Fielder and he got us. We tried not to let him beat us. That's tough to take right now."

Twins starter Scott Baker (5-5) had his personal three-game winning streak snapped after leaving two on for Mijares. John Axford pitched the ninth for his 17th straight save and 20th this season.

Milwaukee is the only team in the majors not to lose consecutive home games this year, and the Brewers appeared to be in complete control of this one leading 2-0 until it unraveled over three batters in the sixth.

Michael Cuddyer walked, Delmon Young singled and Valencia snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a towering shot that landed in the restaurant in left field to put the Twins ahead 3-2.

"It hurt me a little bit to give up that three-run home run," Wolf said. "It would've been a tough loss if it would've stayed 3-2."

Instead, the Brewers rallied in the seventh after Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan singled with one out.

Braun popped out to shallow right field and was the last batter Baker faced. Mijares battled back from a 3-0 count on Fielder, but the slugger laced a full-count pitch to right for his 64th and 65th RBIs.

"I didn't know what they were going to do," Fielder said. "I'm fortunate enough I got a mistake to hit and I hit it good."

Wolf pitched seven innings and is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last seven starts. Kameron Loe pitched the eighth followed by Axford's 1-2-3 ninth.

Minnesota has lost three straight since a season-best eight-game winning streak. The Twins learned before the game that first baseman Justin Morneau needs neck surgery to remove a herniated disk fragment and will miss six weeks.

Baker walked Fielder with one out in the fourth and it came back to cost him when Casey McGehee's bloop fell harmlessly for a single in left and Hart doubled down the right-field line to make it 1-0.

But the Twins limited the damage when the Brewers tested Young's arm in left. Young caught Yuniesky Betancourt's shallow pop fly and catcher Joe Mauer made the tag as McGehee tried to dive around and touch the plate.

Braun extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games with his run-scoring, ground-rule double in the fifth that scored Wolf. It should have scored Weeks easily from first if it had stayed in the field of play. Instead, Weeks was stranded at third, setting up Fielder's heroics.

"I think that's the key to winning games. You get big hits in the right situations," Braun said. "The keys are getting hits with runners in scoring position and we've been doing that lately."

NOTES: Brewers owner Mark Attanasio sat in his customary seats on the front row, and failed to snag a bouncing foul ball from Mauer in the eighth. A fan across from him handed Attanasio the misplayed ball, and he gave it to his wife, Debbie. ... Braun is the only player in the majors to have three double-digit hitting streaks this season. ... The Twins will activate Jim Thome on Saturday and optioned OF Rene Tosoni to Triple-A Rochester. Thome is seven homers from 600. ... Weeks scored his 500th run of his career in the seventh. ... Milwaukee has come from behind to win 18 games this year.

Last updated: 5:34 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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