for this game

Brewers aim to get on track against Twins

May 19, 2012 - 3:01 PM (Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers will need a short memory after taking an 11-3 loss in the first game of a weekend series with the Minnesota Twins on Friday as the two teams meet again at Miller Park this afternoon.

The Twins' offense erupted for the most runs they have scored in a game this season thanks to stellar performances from the middle of their lineup. Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with three RBI in the game, Josh Willingham was 2-for-5 including his eighth home run of the season and Justin Morneau also had two hits while driving in three runs in the game.

Denard Span was also effective out of the leadoff spot with four hits, three RBI and three runs scored.

Scott Diamond earned the win by pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. Francisco Liriano also pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen for the Twins, who have picked up some momentum of late and have won three straight but remain last in the AL Central.

Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of work but it was reliever Vinnie Chalk who took the brunt of the Twins' offensive surge, allowing four runs in just one inning pitched.

The loss came despite another fine effort from Ryan Braun, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI including his 11th home run. Corey Hart and Norichika Aoki each added a pair of hits for the Brewers.

Looking to end a losing trend for the Twins when he pitches, Carl Pavano will be the starter for Minnesota in Saturday's matchup. The Twins have lost four of the last five games in which Pavano has pitched during a stretch where Pavano's ERA has jumped almost half a run, climbing to 5.14 entering this start. Part of the issue is a nagging shoulder issue.

Pavano is coming off a six-inning start in his last time out against Cleveland in which he gave up four runs on six hits and no walks. It was the third straight start that Pavano has not allowed a base on balls. The right-hander got a no decision for his effort although the Twins still lost the game 5-4.

The streak without allowing a free pass has kept Pavano's pitch count down in his last three starts, averaging 67.7 pitches per start in the stretch, but pounding the strike zone has still led to a great deal of base runners. Pavano has allowed 24 hits in those three starts, including a season-high 10 in a 6-2 loss to the Angels in which Pavano lasted a season-low four innings on May 9.

Pavano, who began his career with the Florida Marlins, has 12 career starts against the Brewers but has never really figured Milwaukee out with just a 2-4 record and a 4.77 ERA.

Opposing Pavano will be Yovani Gallardo, who is heading in an opposite direction to Pavano, dropping his ERA by a full run over his last three starts.

Entering the season Gallardo had a career ERA of 3.63, but at the end of April had an ERA of 6.08 and a record of just 1-2. Although the wins have not come in May, Gallardo has been pitching better, bringing his ERA down to 5.04 by accumulating a much better 3.50 ERA in three starts in the month.

May has historically been a strong month for Gallardo with 11 wins during his career in the month, which is more wins than any other month for the right- hander, who also sports a 2.84 career ERA during the second month of the season.

His last time out Gallardo was effectively erratic by scattering a pair of runs over six innings on just two hits but also a season-high six walks. Gallardo took the loss as the Brewers fell 3-1 to the New York Mets, putting his overall record at 2-4.

If history is any judge Gallardo should continue to improve his season numbers against the Twins a team that he is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA against in his career.

These teams have met 13 times now in the last two-plus seasons, with the home team winning 10 of those meetings. Minnesota got its first road win during that stretch in last night's game.