MILWAUKEE — Rowdy Tellez hit a pair of three-run homers, Corbin Burnes won his fifth straight decision and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 10-4 to sweep a two-game series between Central Division leaders.
Tellez homered off a wild Chris Archer (2-5) for a 3-0 lead in the first and against Jharel Cotton for an 8-3 advantage in a five-run fourth. Tellez has 20 homers, one shy of his career high in 2019 with Toronto, and nine multihomer games, including four this season. His only game with more RBIs was on May 4, when he had eight against Cincinnati.
“Our pitching is obviously our strong suit, but we’ve made some strides,” Tellez said of the team’s recent success at the plate. “The break helped us out and I think we are in a good spot.”
Tellez’s ability to go deep changed the course of the game, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
“He’s a strong human being,” Counsell said. “Most of the time, all he’s got to do is put a barrel on it and it’s going to go. It was good to see him really take over the game today and probably win that one for us.”
Burnes (8-4) struck out 11 in six innings, reaching double digits for the eighth time this year and 20th in his big league career. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and five hits while walking none and retiring 14 of his last 15 batters.
“Those last four innings, finally got some things that clicked. So, it was good,” Burnes said. “But as far as the second inning goes, got to do a better job of throwing up a zero there especially after the offense scores three.”
Milwaukee opened a 3 1/2-game NL Central lead over second-place St. Louis, which played later Wednesday. Minnesota’s AL Central lead was trimmed to two games over second-place Cleveland, which also played later.
Archer tied his career high with six walks. He allowed six runs and three hits in three innings.
“It’s unacceptable and I have to be better,” Archer said. “I didn’t have anything today. I’ve made 17 starts and I’ve had two outings where I didn’t really have it. Today was exploited to the max. I’m going to have another start soon. I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Archer was critical of himself for the pitch that Tellez hit for a towering home run in the first.
“I didn’t see how high it was hit,” he said. “But it was a terrible pitch. He did what he was supposed to do.”
Burnes gave up the early lead in a three-run second that included Jose Miranda‘s ninth homer, back-to-back doubles by Kyle Garlick and Nick Gordon, and Gary Sanchez‘s run-scoring single. The Twins have homered in 11 consecutive games at American Family Field, hitting a total of 21 home runs during the streak.
“There was a point early in the game where we really liked what we were doing against (Burnes),” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He made a few adjustments. He still threw a bunch of cutters but made some good pitches with his curveball and two-seamer as well. He’s tough.”
Archer walked Milwaukee’s first three batters in the fourth, and Cotton walked Christian Yelich with one out, forcing in the go-ahead run. Willy Adames added a sacrifice fly, and Tellez homered for the lone hit in the inning.
Luis Urias added a two-run homer in the fifth off Yennier Cano.
Garlick homered leading off the seventh against Jake McGee.
Right-hander Peter Strzelecki was recalled from Triple-A Nashville by the Brewers, who optioned left-hander Ethan Small to make room on the roster.
Twins: LHP Danny Coulombe had season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip, Baldelli said. Coulombe has been on the injured list since May 28. … OF Max Kepler missed a second consecutive game with a mildly displaced right pinkie toe fracture. A stint on the injured list is possible for Kepler if he doesn’t show signs of improvement by the weekend, Baldelli said. … 1B Miguel Sano, who returned to action Tuesday after missing nearly three months with a torn meniscus in his left knee, wasn’t in the starting lineup but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh. … RHP Bailey Ober, on the injured list since June 2 with a right groin strain, has begun playing catch. Ober missed 20 games earlier this season with a similar injury.
The Twins expect to make a playoff run but are working to avoid any distractions pertaining to the looming trade deadline, Baldelli said.
“You can’t focus on the trade deadline. I understand why it’s a discussion. It’s a big deal,” he said. “You have an opportunity to improve your team. But when we walk in this door, if we are worried about things like the trade deadline then you’re not focusing on what you need to do that day to win the game.”
Archer said he understands the team could make some moves, but is confident in the current roster.
“I like the team we have. We’ve been really successful so far,” he said.
Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.89 ERA) starts Friday’s series opener at San Diego in his first career appearance against the Padres.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (8-3, 3.73 ERA) starts Friday at Boston, Milwaukee’s first visit to Fenway Park since 2014.