Morneau drives in three as Twins annihilate Brew Crew

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Kevin Slowey had two souvenirs waiting for him. Neither had to do with his dominant pitching.

Slowey notched his first two career hits and RBIs and pitched eight innings, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2 on Friday night.

"I didn't even have to ask for them," Slowey said of the balls labeled and waiting for him in protective cubes at his locker. "It's neat to get a chance to hit because growing up, you always think and condition yourself as a hitter in the major leagues, so when you finally get the chance, on the off chance that you do make contact, any time it falls in it's good."

Justin Morneau and Alexi Casilla had three RBIs apiece for the Twins, who are trying to salvage the final series of a miserable road trip. Minnesota began the swing 1-6 and had given up 10 runs or more in four of the first seven games.

"It's something to build on, but at the same time, we don't want to waste it as one good game. You want to go out and try to win the series," said Morneau, who now has 50 RBIs on the season.

Slowey (3-6) allowed two runs and five hits, looking little like the pitcher who'd been shelled for 12 runs in nine innings in his previous two starts, both losses.

"His slider was breaking and sharp and he stayed out of the middle part of the plate," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Slowey faced just one over the minimum through six on 68 pitches. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks, but made his biggest impact during his sixth career at-bat in the seventh.

It came after second baseman Bill Hall, starting in place of the injured Rickie Weeks, committed his second error of the night to put runners on first and second with one out.

Tim Dillard got Brendan Harris to ground out and intentionally walked Mike Lamb to get to Slowey, who singled to left to make it 6-0. Slowey also doubled in the sixth.

"I hate it when those guys do that, it makes us look bad," Morneau said. "We'll take it. He swung the bat well, actually, impressive."

After Slowey's hit, Carlos Gomez reached on an infield single and Casilla followed with a three-run double to right to blow the game open, and Jason Kubel added a solo homer in the eighth for Minnesota, which finished with six unearned runs.

Brewers manager Ned Yost defended Hall, who has hinted through his agent that he'd like to be traded if he's not an everyday player at third base and left without talking Friday night.

"Those are plays that, should they be made? Yes, absolutely," Yost said. "But, when you move around like that and get thrown into a position when you really don't have a chance to get comfortable at all ... it's difficult, difficult to jump in."

The Twins took advantage of Milwaukee's makeshift defense in the first and fifth innings, too.

Gomez led off the fifth with a bunt that starter Dave Bush (2-7) fielded but had nowhere to throw after first baseman Prince Fielder charged the play and Hall failed to back him up.

After Casilla added another bunt single and Joe Mauer hit into a fielder's choice, Morneau, who knocked in an unearned run off Hall's first error in the first, added a two-run triple and Delmon Young an RBI single to give Minnesota a 4-0 lead.

"When guys like that make those kind of bunts, it's kind of hard to defend it," said Fielder, who acknowledged he wouldn't have beaten Gomez back to the bag. "Hopefully, they don't make good bunts."

Bush went six innings and was charged with four runs, three earned, and 10 hits, but failed to match Slowey on the mound or at the plate.

Slowey, who planned to give the balls to his father, Patrick, grounded out in his first two at-bats after the starters practiced hitting in the batting cages in Cleveland, where the Twins dropped two of three.

"Yeah, I count it as a 4-for-4. Thank you," he joked.

Game notes
Brewers LF Ryan Braun and CF Mike Cameron had seventh-inning sacrifice flies to account for Milwaukee's runs. ... X-rays on Twins RF Michael Cuddyer (right ring finger) were negative. Cuddyer was hit by a pitch in the first inning and left in the second. "It hurt," said Cuddyer, who is day-to-day. "Fortunately, there was no swelling." ... Tests on Brewers SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) showed no structural damage. He's expected to miss at least the next two games.