Nearly every team in baseball has had its struggles with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. They are, after all, former MVP Award winners and two of the best left-handed hitters in the game.
But forgive the Milwaukee Brewers if they are a bit more cautious with the pair. The Twins duo has tortured Milwaukee pitching in 47 career games, with Mauer hitting .358 -- including a home run in Monday's series opener -- and Morneau hitting .331.
Right-hander Alfredo Figaro draws the assignment to stop them in a spot start Tuesday night. The Brewers are without originally scheduled starter Hiram Burgos, who is on the disabled list with an injured shoulder.
Figaro has posted a 3.46 ERA in 15 relief outings this year. He has made just four starts in his Major League career -- all with Detroit in 2009 and '10 -- but he spent the past two seasons starting in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes.
"He's extended enough, and he's got his pitch count up there," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's a strong guy."
Injuries like the one Burgos sustained are nothing new to the Brewers, whose top three power hitters -- Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart -- are injured. Braun, the most recent to go down, was limited to a pinch-hitting role in Monday's game while nursing a nagging thumb.
But Roenicke refused to use injuries as an excuse for his club's struggles this month. Instead, he says, the Brewers need to start winning with what they have in order to put themselves in contention when they return to full strength.
"We need to hold on and play better ball now, so when we do have the opportunity with everybody coming back healthy, we can go on a winning streak," Roenicke said.
Left-hander Scott Diamond gets the ball Tuesday for the Twins. Diamond won his first two starts in May but has hit a rough patch, losing two of his last three. He allowed 26 hits and 15 earned runs in those starts -- losses to the Orioles and Red Sox and a no-decision against the Tigers.
Before Monday's game, Diamond's manager, Ron Gardenhire, reminisced about the pre-Interleague era, when the Brewers and Twins were division rivals in the AL Central.
"It's always been a great rivalry," he said. "I know when I came up here in the early '90s as a coach that [Paul] Molitor was always playing on the other side, and it seemed like every game he came up with a bases-loaded, ninth-inning chance to win the game. And he did win some. ... Our fans load this place up, and then when they come over there, they do the same thing over there. So it's a lot of fun."
Twins: Herrmann recalled
• Catcher Chris Herrmann was promoted to the Twins on Monday, taking the spot of Wilkin Ramirez, who is on the seven-day DL with a concussion.
Ramirez initially disagreed with the decision by Twins brass and doctors to hold him out for a week, but after throwing up on Sunday's plane ride to Milwaukee, he changed his stance.
"I feel it in my stomach and a headache," Ramirez said. "I think I have to apologize for what I said yesterday, because I thought I was fine. That's why he's a doctor."
Brewers: Gomez homers twice
• Milwaukee center fielder Carlos Gomez, who played for Minnesota in 2008 and '09, homered twice against his former team Monday.
"I still have respect for the manager, the coaches," Gomez said prior to Monday's game. "Every time I see them, I tip my cap. Ron always talked to me like a son. It's fun and exciting to always play against your ex-teammates."
Gomez has been on a tear this season, hitting .331 with 10 homers and a .987 OPS.
• Morneau is one home run shy of 207 for his career, which would tie him with Kirby Puckett for fifth on the Twins' all-time leaderboard.
• The Twins' bullpen has limited the Brewers to just three earned runs in the last 19 innings, for an ERA of 1.42.