Athletics vs. Twins: Balanced Offensive Attack Nets A's Rubber Match

The Athletics and Twins square off in a three game series leading into the trade deadline. We provide news updates, previews and recaps as the A's look to move closer to .500. For more on the A's, check out Athletics Nation.

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Athletics Get Victory Over Twins, Set Club Record With 16th Straight Eight-Hit Effort

After 90+ games of hugely inconsistent efforts, the Oakland Athletics are suddenly finding a groove. The offense was once again key as the A’s scored seven runs on 11 hits in marching to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins, thus securing the series victory. The A’s offense has compiled eight or more hits in 16 straight games since the All Star break, which is now a club record.

The A’s fell behind early, but the offense kept them in it. Things looked ugly early as Ben Revere led the game off with a triple and then scored on a Joe Mauer groundout. The Twins added another run in the first as Danny Valencia drove in Michael Cuddyer with a groundout to third. The Twins would add a third run in the third inning as Jim Thome hit his 597th career home run.

That would be all the scoring for the Twins and the A’s would get all that back plus some. After Scott Sizemore grounded out to lead off the inning, the A’s proceeded to slap together six straight hits and score six runs. Jemile Weeks doubled to lead off the inning, then stole third. Coco Crisp reached on an infield single that scored Weeks. Hideki Matsui followed with a single sending Crisp to second, which Crisp followed by stealing third. This was followed by a Josh Willingham single, Conor Jackson single, Ryan Sweeney double and Cliff Pennington single. Kurt Suzuki lined into a 1-3 double play but six runs were on the board.

The A’s would add one more run on a Hideki Matsui sacrifice fly and that was more than enough for Brandon McCarthy. The A’s righty settled down and went six innings, giving up those three runs and not much else. The A’s bullpen faltered briefly as Craig Breslow got into some trouble. He loaded the bases with two outs but escaped by striking out Thome to end the inning. Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey wrapped things up for the A’s.

The victory wrapped up a 5-2 homestand for the A’s and improves them to 10-6 since the All Star break and 49-59 overall. The A’s head on the road for a tough nine-game road trip to Seattle, Tampa Bay and Toronto. At 11 1/2 back, a strong road trip could at least keep things mildly interesting in August for the A’s.

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Athletics vs. Twins: Brandon McCarthy Looks To Pitch A's To Series Victory

(Sports Network) – The Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins close out their series with the rubber match of the three-game set this afternoon at the Coliseum.

Last season, Minnesota pitcher Carl Pavano was a tremendous surprise and one of the better starters in all of baseball. This season, the veteran has been mediocre, posting a 6-7 record with a 4.60 ERA thus far. Pavano didn’t figure in the decision of Tuesdays game against the Rangers, as he was fortunate to avoid a loss after surrendering eight runs over just five innings. Pavano has faced the As twice already this season and has permitted just two earned runs in 15 innings. He is 3-0 lifetime versus Oakland with a 2.31 ERA.

Oakland figures to hand the ball to Brandon McCarthy today. While the rightys 3-5 record could certainly stand some improvement, he owns a solid 3.52 ERA and is coming off one of his best performances of the year. Against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, he permitted just one earned run on six hits in eight innings of work. McCarthy is 1-0 all-time versus Minnesota with a 2.08 ERA.

On Saturday, Scott Sizemore capped off a four-run fifth inning with a three- run double, as Oakland handled the Twins, 8-3. Ryan Sweeney, Josh Willingham and Jemile Weeks each knocked in a run for the A’s, who bounced back from a 9-5 loss in the opener of this series on Friday. The Athletics, who had 12 hits, have at least eight hits in 15 straight games, tying the Oakland record for consecutive games with eight-plus hits.

“It’s getting contagious and guys are feeling good about it as a group,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Guillermo Moscoso (4-5) gave up two runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young had an RBI apiece for the Twins, who have lost two of three. Nick Blackburn (7-8) allowed seven runs — six earned — on 10 hits over 4 1/3 frames to suffer the loss. He walked five and struck out two. Blackburn fell to 1-6 lifetime against Oakland.

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Guillermo Moscoso Bounces Back Strong As A's Defeat Twins 8-3

The Oakland Athletics gave the Minnesota Twins a taste of their own medicine as they followed the Twins dominance on Friday with their own dominance Saturday. The A’s used a four-run fifth inning to blow open a 3-2 game and rolled to an 8-3 victory. Once again the A’s received strong performances up and down the lineup including a three RBI game from Scott Sizemore and a three-hit night from Conor Jackson.

Guillermo Moscoso bounced back from back-to-back tough outings as he went 6 1/3 innings giving up two earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He appeared to be in trouble through two innings as the were hitting him around. However, he settled down once the A’s gave him a 3-2 lead and cruised into the seventh inning. The A’s bullpen picked him up from there going 2 2/3 innings giving up only one unearned run. With the win, Moscoso improves to 4-5 with a 3.41 ERA.

The A’s offense had another strong night in support of their starting pitcher. The A’s strung together eight runs on 12 hits and 6 walks. Coco Crisp had a strong performance going 2-for-3 with two walks, two stolen bases and two runs scored. Josh Willingham added another RBI and Scott Sizemore drove in three on a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning. It was another strong night for an offense has caught fire since the All Star break.

The A’s and Twins meet for the rubber match Sunday afternoon at 1:05pm on CSN California. Brandon McCarthy will square off against Carl Pavano looking for the series win.

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Athletics vs. Twins: Guillermo Moscoso Looks To Snap A's Losing Streak

(Sports Network) – The Oakland Athletics try to avoid a third straight loss this evening as they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at the Coliseum. In Friday’s opener, Michael Cuddyer hit a three-run homer and Francisco Liriano pitched seven strong innings, as the Twins held off the Athletics, 9-5. Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel added two RBI apiece for the Twins, who have won three of four.

“We’re still in this chase with two months to go,” said Plouffe. “We have a bunch of games left in our division and that’s why we’ve been successful in the past. As long as we can win some on the road and do our job at home, we’ll be there come September.”

Liriano (7-8) gave up two runs on six hits to pick up the victory. He struck out four and walked two. Josh Willingham hit a three-run and two-run homer for the A’s, who have lost two in a row since a three-game winning streak. Gio Gonzalez (9-8) allowed five runs — four earned — on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings to take the loss. He struck out five and walked three.

“Other than the two homers from Josh, not a good day all the way around,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Nick Blackburn is slated to get the ball for Minnesota today, and he is 7-7 with a 4.21 ERA. In 126 innings of work to date, the righty has yielded 148 hits and has walked 35 batters. He was roughed up by Texas on Monday, as the Rangers pounded out 11 hits and six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings.

Blackburn is 1-1 versus Oakland this season with a minuscule 0.69 ERA, as he has permitted only one earned run to the A’s in 13 innings of work. In his career against Oakland, the veteran is 1-5 with a 5.16 ERA.

Guillermo Moscoso will oppose Blackburn, and while his 3-5 record isn’t impressive, the righty owns a solid 3.47 ERA. He was far from sharp on Monday against Tampa Bay, yielding five earned runs on eight hits in five innings of action. The righty has permitted just 51 hits in 59 2/3 innings of work, but he has nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (30). Moscoso has never faced the Twins in his young career.

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Michael Cuddyer Powers Minnesota Past Gio Gonzalez, A's

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Michael Cuddyer hit a three-run homer and Francisco Liriano pitched seven strong innings, as the Minnesota Twins held off the Oakland Athletics, 9-5, in the opener of a three-game series. Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel added two RBI apiece for the Twins, who have won three of four.

“We’re still in this chase with two months to go,” said Plouffe. “We have a bunch of games left in our division and that’s why we’ve been successful in the past. As long as we can win some on the road and do our job at home, we’ll be there come September.”

Liriano (7-8) gave up two runs on six hits to pick up the victory. He struck out four and walked two. Josh Willingham hit a three-run and two-run homer for the A’s, who have lost two in a row since a three-game winning streak. Gio Gonzalez (9-8) allowed five runs — four earned — on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings to take the loss. He struck out five and walked three.

“Other than the two homers from Josh, not a good day all the way around,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

The Twins got the game started with a pair of runs in the first inning. Plouffe reached base on a fielder’s choice and Joe Mauer singled to put men on first and second with one out. After Cuddyer struck out swinging, Kubel hit a two-run double to left.

Willingham tied the game in the home half with one swing of the bat. Coco Crisp hit a one-out single and scored on Willingham’s two-out homer to left. Minnesota added a run in the third. Plouffe reached first on third baseman Scott Sizemore’s throwing error. Mauer then reached base on a throwing error by Gonzalez. Cuddyer knocked in a run when he grounded into a double play.

The Twins tacked on a run in the fifth to make it a 4-2 game. Ben Revere led off with an infield single, stole second and scored on Plouffe’s base hit to center. The visitors put another run on the board in the sixth. Delmon Young and Matt Tolbert singled and Drew Butera walked to load the bases. Revere also worked a walk to force in a run. Fautino De Los Santos came in from the bullpen and limited the damage.

Oakland had a chance to get back in the game in the home sixth. Hideki Matsui singled and Willingham walked to begin the frame. But Conor Jackson grounded into a fielder’s choice and David DeJesus grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Twins pulled away with a four-run eighth. With Michael Wuertz on the mound, Plouffe hit an RBI single. Mauer intentionally walked before Cuddyer cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left for a 9-2 lead.

Willingham made things a bit interesting with a three-run homer off Jose Mijares in the home eighth. Alex Burnett and Glen Perkins combined to pitch a scoreless ninth to seal Minnesota’s victory.

The Twins have taken four of six from the A’s this season…Liriano improved to 2-3 lifetime against Oakland…Gonzalez fell to 2-3 in his career against Minnesota…Oakland has totaled four or more runs in nine straight games…The Twins placed second baseman Alexi Casilla on the 15-day disabled list and recalled second baseman Luke Hughes from Triple-A Rochester. Hughes went 0- for-3 on Friday…The A’s went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded five.

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Athletics vs. Twins: A's Look To Continue Offensive Explosion

(Sports Network) – The Oakland Athletics try to continue their offensive onslaught this evening when they open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at the Coliseum. After managing 43 runs in its 18 games before the All-Star break, Oakland’s bats have come alive, as the team is hitting a major league-best .317 since the Mid-Summer Classic. The A’s have also totaled four or more runs in eight straight games.

Oakland continued to hit the ball on Thursday, jumping out to a five-run first-inning lead, but its bullpen let it down, allowing seven runs in the seventh en route to a 10-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“We got a nice little lead (Thursday) and with our pitching we should win those games,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “Sometimes you have to give the other team a little credit, too. After three games, they didn’t stop fighting.”

Hoping for a little bit of that run support tonight will be lefty Gio Gonzalez, who is 9-7 with a 2.67 ERA. Gonzalez was banged around his last time out on Sunday in New York, as the Yankees reached him for six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Gonzalez tossed six scoreless innings to beat the Twins the last time he faced them and is 2-2 with an 8.03 ERA in five starts against them.

Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with a left-hander of its own in Francisco Liriano, who is 6-8 on the year with a 4.82 ERA. Liriano couldn’t get out of the third inning on Sunday against Detroit, as he allowed four runs and six hits with four walks in just 2 1/3 innings.

“We were trying to get him to just throw his fastball over the plate, and he really couldn’t find anything,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was spinning off the ball. Hopefully, there will be better days ahead for him.”

The left-hander has faced the A’s 10 times (eight starts) and is just 1-3 against them with a 4.91 ERA. Minnesota can ill afford another sub-par outing from Liriano, as it continues to try to pull itself out from an awful start to the year. The Twins enter tonight’s tilt having lost five of their last eight following a split in their four-game series with the Texas Rangers.

Despite being seven games under .500, the Twins find themselves just six games back in the American League Central. Minnesota has won three of its five matchups with the A’s this season.

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Athletics vs. Twins: A's Look To Stay Hot Through MLB Trade Deadline

The Oakland Athletics open up a three-game home stand with the Minnesota Twins as the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches on Sunday. Both teams find themselves in predicaments as the trade deadline approaches. The A's are 12 1/2 games back of first and 11 games under .500. For all intents and purposes they're out of the AL West division race. However, they are not getting much in the way of solid offers and a guy like Josh Willingham could net them draft pick compensation in the offseason. Thus, even though the A's would typically be sellers, they are likely going to hold on to some of their veterans.

The Twins are six games back of first and nine games under .500. They've struggled with numerous injuries and are 8-8 since the All Star break. The AL Central race remains fairly wide open as the Tigers have not been able to run away with the division. The Twins fall into a sort of pergatory category where they're not really buyers or sellers.

And so the two teams square off with no real idea what their rosters will look like three days from now. The A's will send out Gio Gonzalez, Guillermo Moscoso and Brandon McCarthy to face Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano. The A's will spend much of the second half of the season evaluating their talent as they look to 2012. McCarthy is on a one-year deal looking to prove he's back from his injured past. He missed a stretch earlier this year but if he can finish the season healthy he's likely out the door. Moscosco entered the season at Triple-A and has proven himself to be valuable part of the rotation following injuries to McCarthy, Dallas Braden, and Tyson Ross.

The A's offense has guys like Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Conor Jackson on the market just as they're starting to find their way. The A's offense was wildly inconsistent the first half of the season but has found its way in the second half, at least for now. If they can keep it up, maybe this team can quietly get back into the playoff race. It's not likely, but crazier things have happened.


Current Series

3 game series vs Twins @ Overstock.com Coliseum

Minnesota Twins
@ Oakland Athletics

Friday, Jul 29, 2011, 7:05 PM PDT
Overstock.com Coliseum

Francisco Liriano vs Gio Gonzalez

Clear. Winds blowing out to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.

Complete Coverage >

Sat 07/30 - Guillermo Moscoso vs. Nick Blackburn 6:05 PM PDT
Sun 07/31 - Brandon McCarthy vs. Carl Pavano 1:05 PM PDT
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