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Twins’ Miguel Sano ready to return vs. Brewers

Sportsnaut
Apr 20, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Miguel Sano (22) runs to first base during the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Milwaukee Brewers failed to score, the National League Central leaders responded with a seven-run inning and a 10-run showing against another division leader.

Coming off their first shutout defeat in more than a month, the Brewers seek a similar rebound performance Tuesday night when they host the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a two-game interleague series.

Milwaukee was blanked for the ninth time this season on Monday in a 2-0 loss to the visiting Colorado Rockies. The Brewers mustered just five hits and had all three of their at-bats with runners in scoring position during the ninth inning.

The Brewers scored 25 runs while winning the first three games of the four-game series and are averaging 4.9 runs per game this month. However, they are coming off their first shutout loss since a 4-0 defeat to the New York Mets on June 14.

“Our guys when we got into some good counts, nothing happened,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.

Since their last shutout loss, the Brewers are 19-15. Four of their nine games with double-digit runs have come since June 14, including a 10-9 victory over Colorado on Sunday.

Minnesota heads to Milwaukee coming off consecutive blowout wins in Detroit and then an off day on Monday. The Twins were held to three runs or fewer in four of their final six games before the All-Star break. They opened the second half by producing 8-4 and 9-1 victories over the Tigers.

In the Sunday win, Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez combined for six hits, five RBIs and four runs from the bottom third of the batting order.

“We’ve been talking about that all season,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “If you wait for your 1-2-3 hitters to get you going every game, you are going to have a lot of bad days. The bottom of our order has gotten us going a lot this year.”

Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, the major league batting leader, went 4-for-9 with three RBIs in the series and heads to Milwaukee with a .341 average.

The Twins will get Miguel Sano back on Tuesday after a lengthy injured-list stint caused by a torn meniscus in his left knee. Sano, whose last major league appearance was on April 30, batted .333 with five homers in 11 RBIs in 12 rehab games.

Sano was 5-for-54 (.093) on the season before undergoing knee surgery. He batted .223 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs in 135 games last season.

“He’s the kind of guy that you want on your team,” Baldelli said. “I would always say that, from the first day I met him until now.”

If Sano starts, his first at-bat will come against Ethan Small (0-0, 6.75 ERA), who will be making his second career appearance and start. Small made his debut in Chicago on May 30, when he allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Cubs.

The 2019 first-round draft pick is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Nashville this year.

“Been here and done it before,” Small said of pitching in the majors. “Still very inexperienced as far as that goes, but I’m excited to be back and I feel like I’m ready.”

Minnesota will counter with Dylan Bundy (6-4, 4.71 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 4.43 ERA over his past four outings. He will be pitching for the first time since July 16, when he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings during a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Bundy will be facing Milwaukee for the first time in his career.

–Field Level Media