Twins 7, Brewers 1


MILWAUKEE (AP) – Tony Batista hit a grand slam and Francisco Liriano threw five solid innings in his first start of the season to help the Twins snap a five-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Batista hit his ninth career grand slam in the eighth as part of a five-run inning. Brewers starter Doug Davis (2-3) had entered the inning trailing 2-1, but he walked Luis Castillo and allowed a single to Joe Mauer to put runners on the corners with no out, ending his night.

Mauer stole second, and after an out, reliever Jose Capellan intentionally walked Michael Cuddyer, who had hit a solo homer in the sixth to put the Twins ahead.

But Capellan plunked Lew Ford, scoring Castillo, and Batista hit the next pitch over the Brewers’ bullpen to make it 7-1.

Milwaukee had been streaking during its nine-game homestand by winning five of the first six, including a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies and three win in their last at-bat.

But Liriano (2-0), on a pitch count, allowed just one run on two hits while walking three and striking out five before giving way to Matt Guerrier.

Liriano was promoted from the bullpen in the hope that he’ll provide much needed stability to the Twins rotation with Kyle Lohse (2-4, 8.92 ERA) banished to Triple-A and Carlos Silva (2-6, 8.62 ERA) trying to work out his problems in the bullpen.

The 22-year-old Dominican left-hander also had an RBI single and stymied the Brewers bats with a fastball that reached 97 mph in his final inning.

The Twins got on the board first when Ford was hit by Davis, who also walked Batista. After Juan Castro hit into a double play, Davis only needed to get Liriano out in his first major-league at-bat.

Davis failed, and Liriano’s RBI flare single put Minnesota ahead 1-0.

The Brewers tied it in the third on Rickie Weeks’ sacrifice fly, but Brady Clark got hung trying to tag up from second for the final out.

Liriano managed to stay out of more trouble in the fourth and fifth with the help of double plays, and the Brewers failed to score with men on second and third with one away in the seventh after Jesse Crain relieved Dennys Reyes and got the final two outs.

Cuddyer’s homer gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Notes: Liriano threw 68 pitches, while Davis threw 117. … Davis now has 39 walks this season. … Twins CF Torii Hunter called a players’ only meeting to discuss the team’s problems before the game. He declined to reveal details, saying that it was “upbeat.”… Minnesota lawmakers are expected to approve a deal for a $522-million outdoor ballpark for the Twins this weekend. The Twins have played in the Metrodome since 1982. … Brewers SS Bill Hall extended his hitting streak to eight games in the fifth. … The Twins now lead the all-time series with the Brewers 192-190.

AP-ES-05-19-06 2258EDT