Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Carl Pavano gave up just two runs in the start to help the Minnesota Twins down the Oakland Athletics, 4-3, in the opener of a three-game set.
Pavano (15-7) went 6 1/3 innings and was charged with 10 hits and a walk along with four strikeouts for the Twins, who have won five of their last six. Danny Valencia went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored whileJason Kubel and Drew Butera each drove in a run.
Gio Gonzalez (10-8) was charged with four runs -- two earned -- on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts over six innings for the Athletics, who have dropped three of four. Daric Barton and Jack Cust each drove in a run in the loss.
The Twins jumped on top in the first inning as Kubel walked with the bases loaded to force home Denard Spanand Valencia later punched an RBI single to center that saw Kubel thrown out at third to end the inning.
Oakland tied the game back up in the third. Cliff Pennington led off with a double and later came home when Barton punched a triple to right-center. Kurt Suzuki then hit a grounder that saw Barton nailed at home, but Cust followed with a double to bring home Suzuki and make it a 2-2 game.
Minnesota, though, took the lead back in the fourth. Delmon Young led off with a single and came home when Valencia followed with a double. A sac bunt moved Valencia to third and Butera followed with the suicide squeeze to score Valencia for a 4-2 advantage.
The Athletics threatened in the seventh. Coco Crisp led off with a single and Suzuki later hit a single that saw him make it to second and Crisp to third. Ron Mahay then took the mound and struck out Cust for the second out of the inning. Matt Guerrier came out of the bullpen to face Kevin Kouzmanoff, who hit a sharp liner that saw Alexi Casilla make a diving stop to end the inning.
Matt Capps came on in the ninth to close the game and got the first out, but Suzuki doubled to center and, after Cust popped out, Kouzmanoff hit a grounder to short that Casilla misplayed, allowing Suzuki to score. Mark Ellisfollowed with a single, but Capps got Rajai Davis to fly out to record his third save.
Minnesota has taken three of the four meetings with Oakland this season...Pavano is 10-1 over his last 13 starts and improved to 2-0 over three starts against Oakland in his career...Gonzalez fell to 1-2 in four starts against Minnesota...Oakland stranded 13 men on base.