- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Ricky Nolasco has arguably been the most effective starter on the American League’s worst team.

He leads the Minnesota Twins staff with 15 starts, three wins, 91 innings pitched and 73 strikeouts. His 4.95 ERA trails only Ervin Santana’s 4.83.

Still, he’s going to have off days.

Thursday was one of those.

Struggling Freddy Galvis homered as part of a career-high five RBI day and the Philadelphia Phillies ended a nine-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over the Twins.

Cesar Hernandez tied a career high with four hits, and Ryan Howard homered as part of his third multiple-hit game of the season, and first since April 29.

Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar and Byung Ho Park had RBIs for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in four games.

Looking to become the Twins’ first pitcher with four wins, Nolasco (3-5) allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in 6 2-3 innings.

“He had to battle, fastball command, not as good as we’ve seen. Just trying to find a way to get through and keep us in the game, and for the most part he did that,” said manager Paul Molitor.

“The only thing I was thinking was to get as deep as possible into the game, knowing I didn’t have much going,” Nolasco added.

It could have been worse. Minnesota turned three double plays behind Nolasco.

“I caught some breaks. I’m not going to lie about that,” Nolasco said.

Jerad Eickhoff (5-9) continues to be a bright spot for Philadelphia, which won for only the second time in 15 games. The right-hander gave up five hits and allowed two runs, one earned. In winning three of his past four starts, Eickhoff has allowed five earned runs in 24 2-3 innings. The last three Philadelphia wins over a 17-game span were all Eickhoff victories.

Galvis entered the game in an 8-for-78 slide since May 31 that dropped his batting average to .211. He hit a no-doubt three-run homer to right field off reliever Kevin Jepsen in the eighth inning to make it 7-2.

Jepsen, who was replaced as the team’s closer earlier this month, has allowed 20 earned runs in 28 2-3 innings.

“I wish I had that answer right now. Obviously mechanically I’m not where I want to be,” he said.

Galvis, whose sacrifice bunt in the fourth led to a Philadelphia run, had an RBI triple in the sixth to score Hernandez, who got on base by beating out a slow roller to first by stepping on the bag a split-second before Nolasco.

On the triple, Minnesota center fielder Byron Buxton, who crashed into the outfield wall making a catch Wednesday night, just missed making a similar play. H hit the padded surface and crumpled onto the warning track. He stayed in the game.

Dozier’s RBI double gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the first; Escobar’s single got the Twins within 3-2 in the fifth.

TRAINERS ROOM

Phillies: 1B Tommy Joseph was a late scratch with an illness. Hernandez started at 2B with Andres Blanco moving to first.

Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe left after the sixth inning with a mild right groin strain. He said the groin loosened up later and he thinks he’ll be OK. … Miguel Sano will play 3B to start his rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Rochester before moving to DH and RF. … LHP Glen Perkins was scheduled for shoulder surgery Thursday to repair a torn labrum and assess damage in his rotator cuff. The hope is to have him ready for spring training next year. … RHP Trevor May will throw a bullpen session Friday and then join Sano in Rochester for about a week. Molitor said he’ll continue as a reliever upon his return.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Zach Eflin (0-2, 10.80) is scheduled to start Friday when Philadelphia opens a three-game series in San Francisco. Jake Peavy (3-6, 5.47) is to start for the Giants. Eflin allowed eight earned runs in less than three innings in his first career start June 14, but allowed two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings last Sunday.

Twins: Minnesota starts a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday with Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.79) scheduled to face Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 2.91). Milone, who started four games early this season for the Twins, will be making his first start since being recalled June 18. In seven starts at Triple-A Rochester, Milone was 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA, 41 strikeouts and four walks.

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