MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich’s return to the starting lineup wasn’t enough to save the Milwaukee Brewers.
The outfielder sparked a late rally, but Josh Hader allowed a three-run home run to Marwin Gonzalez and the Brewers fell 7-5 to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night at Miller Park.
With Milwaukee trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning, Yelich hit an RBI double and scored on Yasmani Grandal’s three-run home run, his 20th of the season. That gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead.
But Gonzalez followed in the eighth with his blast, his 14th, to put the Twins ahead to stay.
It was the fifth blown save for Hader, an All-Star for the second consecutive year. The left-hander has allowed four home runs in his past six appearances.
“It’s a misplaced fastball and it’s cost him a lot,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “As good as Josh is he still has to locate his fastball and he’s getting hurt on mistakes.”
The pivotal eighth inning started with the Twins putting runners on first and second with no outs before Brewers reliever Drew Pomeranz (2-10) recorded the first out. He was replaced by Matt Albers, who struck out the only batter he faced, C.J. Cron.
But then Gonzalez hit Hader’s first pitch, a 96 mph fastball, over the wall.
Yelich had missed five starts due to back stiffness. The reigning NL MVP entered Tuesday leading the league in batting average and tied with the Angels’ Mike Trout for the major league lead in home runs with 39. He went 1-for-5.
Yelich’s breakthrough day was Sunday, when he passed a series of tests before the game and then appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and struck out in Milwaukee’s 1-0 loss vs. the Rangers.
“They wouldn’t have let me do that if I wasn’t ready to go, so I was assuming I was going to play today as soon as I did that,” Yelich said. “I’ve wanted to be out there for a few days. It’s frustrating when you can’t be, but hopefully it’s behind us now and I can be back out there playing.”
Grandal’s homer also scored Ryan Braun, who reached first when Mitch Garver was called for catcher’s interference. All four runs in the Brewers rally were given up by reliever Ryne Harper, who didn’t record an out in facing four batters in the seventh.
Minnesota starter Martín Pérez, who had given up a season-high seven runs in his previous start, managed to leave nine Brewers stranded during six innings and gave up only an unearned run. He had allowed 11 home runs in last five starts, but gave up no homers Tuesday.
Garver hit his 22nd home run, a two-run shot off Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson.
Sergio Romo recorded his second save.
Davies nears return
Zach Davies, on the 10-day injured list with back spasms, is scheduled to throw one more bullpen session today before rejoining the Brewers’ starting rotation sometime during the team’s series in St. Louis next week.
“It just depends how they want the rotation to line up,” Davies said. “Everything has really checked off, health-wise as far as being ready for game action. I only took a couple of days off, so I don’t really need to build back up.”