MILWAUKEE -- Don't look now, but the Minnesota Twins are right back in the thick of the American League wild-card chase.
The Twins extended their winning streak to a season-high five games Thursday and moved above the .500 mark for the first time since July 23 with a dominating 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, themselves losers of five in a row.
"We're energized and you can feel it," said Minnesota manager Paul Molitor, whose team sits a game behind Seattle for the second AL wild-card spot. "These guys are enjoying a little bit of an underdog ride here, and we've been able to put together a little bit of a run."
The offense led the way for Minnesota, combining for 12 hits -- with Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton collecting three apiece. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano each picked up a pair as well, helping rookie left-hander Dietrich Enns settle in for his major league debut.
"I'm happy we got the win -- that's first and foremost," said Enns, who allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over 2 2/3 innings and also recorded his first big-league hit with a third-inning single. "There were a lot of emotions going into today. It was a dream come true."
Eleven of Minnesota's hits came at the expense of Milwaukee starter Zach Davies, who had been red hot coming into the game -- 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA over his last eight starts. He gave up seven runs (six earned), 11 hits and two walks, with three strikeouts, over 5 2/3 innings.
"I don't think Zach pitched poorly," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He threw a ton of strikes. He was the victim of a bunch of balls in play that hurt him. They strung some hits together and put a couple of good innings on them.
"Offensively, it's just not enough. We have to step up here."
Milwaukee's offense has struggled since the All-Star break. The Brewers managed seven hits Thursday but just two of those came over the final 7 1/3 innings.
Minnesota opened the second inning with four straight hits against Davies to take a 2-0 lead and went up 3-0 when Jason Castro reached on an error later in the inning, allowing Buxton to score.
A two-out solo home run by Keon Broxton put Milwaukee on the board in the bottom of the second.
The Twins broke things open in the third with a pair of sacrifice flies and Buxton's second run-scoring single of the day.
Trouble finally found Enns in the third. A one-out error and two singles loaded the bases for Jesus Aguilar, who walked to make it a 6-2 game, bringing the rookie's night to an end.
"I thought I needed to make a move, minimize the damage and protect the lead we built over the first couple of innings," Molitor said.
Alan Busenitz (1-0) took over and got Manny Pina to ground into a double play, ending the threat. He worked another two innings, establishing a new career high, and kept Milwaukee off the board to earn his first major league victory.
Mauer tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single in the sixth.
"We had to go through a lot of bullpen arms, but the offense was there," Molitor said. "There's a lot of ways to get it done, and that adds to our collective confidence."
The Brewers have lost five in a row, one off their longest skid of the season, and now sit third in the NL Central -- two games behind the first-place Cubs and a game behind second-place St. Louis.
NOTES: LHP Dietrich Enns worked 2 2/3 innings in his big-league debut Thursday. Minnesota selected his contract from Triple-A Rochester earlier in the day. He was acquired in a July 30 trade that sent LHP Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees. ... Brewers 3B Travis Shaw was back in the lineup, and he went 2-for-4. He missed the game Wednesday night while tending to family matters. ... Minnesota LHP Glen Perkins (shoulder) threw 11 pitches and allowed one hit in an inning during a rehab appearance for Double-A Chattanooga. ... The Brewers are optimistic that C Stephen Vogt will begin a rehab assignment this weekend. He has been out since July 18 with a knee injury.
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