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.