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MIN@MIL: Willingham crushes a two-run homer to left

MINNEAPOLIS -- After 39 games, the Twins finally know what it feels like to win three games in a row.

The Twins accomplished the feat in a big way, as they picked up 16 hits and tied a season high in runs in an 11-3 victory over the Interleague rival Brewers on Friday at Miller Park.

"It's awesome," shortstop Brian Dozier said. "We've been playing good baseball the last five or six games. So, with three wins in a row, we're playing pretty good. Things are starting to click. We're getting the big hits and I think that's the biggest thing."

The Twins came up with several key hits, as they scored their first six runs on two-out hits. It was another impressive performance from the offense, which scored 11 runs for the second time in three games. The Twins' 16 hits -- four by Denard Span -- were their second-highest total of the season.

They backed up left-hander Scott Diamond, who entered the game with 14 straight scoreless innings. He couldn't quite replicate what he did in his first two starts, but kept the Twins in the game by allowing three runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"It was a good night for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We swung the bats and beat the ball around. Diamond really a nice job of holding the offense down over there. And we played pretty good defense."

The Twins got out to an early lead against right-hander Marco Estrada, getting a two-run homer from Josh Willingham with two outs in the first inning. They added two more runs in the fifth on a two-out double from Joe Mauer to score Diamond -- who picked up his first big league hit -- and Span.

"I came out that first inning and didn't really know where the ball was going," Estrada said. "I was leaving the ball up, and those guys were taking the good pitches I was making and swinging at the bad ones. They made a lot of solid contact off me."

Minnesota stretched its lead to 6-2 with two runs in the sixth, when Span provided a two-run single in an inning that featured three errors by the Brewers.

It was enough for Diamond, who saw his scoreless streak end in the first inning on an RBI groundout from Ryan Braun. He allowed another run in the third, as Norichika Aoki doubled home Corey Hart.

"I feel like I'm really getting to know my defense," said Diamond, who leads Twins starters with three wins and a 1.40 ERA. "I'm feeling a lot more comfortable out there on the mound. I'm trusting these guys more and more."

Diamond's last inning came it the sixth, when Braun launched a homer to open the frame before he gave up a one-out double to Jonathan Lucroy that ended his night.

"Real good breaking ball, real good command with it, spotted his fastball OK," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought we had some good at-bats against him. I know we didn't score a lot of runs off him, but I thought we had good at-bats."

Right-hander Anthony Swarzak tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, and the Twins kept tacking on runs late in the game.

Justin Morneau picked up an RBI in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to score Mauer, who led off the inning with a single.

The Twins added four more runs in the eighth, as pinch-hitter Ben Revere scored on a bloop single from Span before Mauer laced an RBI single and Morneau added a two-run single.

It was a big night for Span, Mauer, Willingham and Morneau, who combined for 11 hits, seven runs and 11 RBIs to pace the offense.

"The big boys in our lineup had a really good night," Gardenhire said. "And Denard Span at the top was able to get on base in his first game since the hamstring problems."

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