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With losing streak over, Twins eye more relief vs. Brewers

With starters Rich Hill and Homer Bailey still on the injured list, the Minnesota Twins will turn to a bullpen-by-committee start in Game 2 of their three-game series at Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Right-hander Tyler Clippard (0-0, 1.17 ERA) will be the opener, making his second start of the season. His first one on Aug. 2 couldn’t have gone any better, as he led a parade of six Twins pitchers in two-hitting the Cleveland Indians 3-1 in Minneapolis.

Clippard didn’t give up a hit in two innings in that one. In seven appearances this season, he has allowed just one earned run on four hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings while striking out seven for a glossy 0.78 WHIP.

However, Clippard is just 1-3 with a 6.65 ERA in 21 career appearances against the Brewers, all of them in relief. He has struggled at Miller Park, where he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 11 appearances, allowing five home runs in only 12 innings.

Milwaukee will answer with veteran right-hander Josh Lindbolm (1-0, 4.15 ERA), who will be making his first career appearance against Minnesota.

The 33-year-old Lindbolm, a former second-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, will be making his ninth career start and 117th appearance in a six-year major league career that has also included stops at Philadelphia, Texas, Oakland, Pittsburgh and the Dodgers. He has a career record of 6-8 with a 4.10 ERA.

Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak, which matched its longest during a 101-win campaign in 2019, with a 4-2 victory in the series opener on Monday night.

Randy Dobnak (3-1) overcame a shaky beginning to win his third consecutive start, holding the Brewers to four hits and a run over five innings. Eddie Rosario hit a grand slam in the third inning off Brewers starter Adrian Houser to give the American League Central Division-leading Twins all the runs they would need.

“We needed somebody to come up really big, have a big swing,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Rosie was there for us. … It was a big pick-me-up, kind of elevated us to a good place energy-wise.”

“I thought it was an all right pitch in that situation,” said Houser of a first-pitch changeup in the middle of the plate. “I was trying to get a rollover ground ball. I don’t think I executed it exactly as I wanted to. Looking back, maybe I could have gone with a sinker, a stronger pitch. … I wish could I could get that one pitch back, but you live and learn and move on to the next one.”

Rosario is batting .300 in 24 career games against the Brewers with seven home runs and 17 RBIs.

The Brewers had a chance to get to Dobnak early when Eric Sogard opened the game with a walk on four straight balls and Keston Hiura followed with a single. But after both runners advanced on a ground out by Christian Yelich, Dobnak bounced back to strike out Justin Smoak and get Avisail Garcia to fly out to deep center.

“We have to score in the first inning,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “Second and third with one out, there’s an opportunity for an easy run there. That’s a place where we have to put at least one run on the board there. That’s important.”

The Brewers could be getting some much-need offensive help in the next few days.

Six-time All-Star Ryan Braun, who has been on the 10-day injured list while recovering from a right finger infection, reported to the team’s alternate training site on Monday to appear in a five-inning game. Counsell did not put a timetable on Braun’s return.

–Field Level Media

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