Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Jack Cust went 2-for-4 with a home run while Brett Anderson pitched into the seventh inning, as the Athletics edged the Twins, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series.
Anderson (6-6) gave up one run on four hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings, and struck out five. With Anderson taking the win, Oakland starters have now gotten the decision in the team's last 24 games (12-12).
Rajai Davis batted 2-for-3 and drove in a run for the A's, who snapped a two- game slide. Andrew Baileytossed a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
Nick Blackburn (9-10) took the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk in seven innings. Danny Valencia homered to provide the lone run for the AL Central-leading Twins, who had won five in a row and 11 of their last 12.
Cust opened the second inning with a double, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Davis' sacrifice fly to put Oakland in front.
The A's added their second run in the fifth, after Coco Crisp doubled with two away. Blackburn walked Daric Barton before Mark Ellis hit a run-scoring single to right. However, Barton was thrown out at third to end the inning, and Valencia began the bottom half with a homer.
Anderson's 1-1 fastball on the inside part of the plate stayed up, and Valencia slugged it to left-center. It was just the sixth homer given up by Anderson in 16 starts this season.
However, Oakland got that run back when Cust began the sixth by hitting his 12th homer. He hit Blackburn's first pitch, a fastball up and outside, the opposite way to left field.
Anderson was removed with two outs in the seventh, after he walked J.J. Hardy to put runners on first and second. Reliever Michael Wuertz entered, but surrendered a single to Jason Repko, loading the bases for pinch-hitter Joe Mauer. But Craig Breslow came in and got Mauer to fly out to end the threat.
Breslow pitched a scoreless eighth before Bailey held the Twins off the scoreboard in the ninth.
While the Twins lost, their magic number for clinching the division was reduced to seven after the second-place White Sox lost to Detroit on Friday...Minnesota was dealt just its 17th loss since the All-Star break...Mauer did not start to get some rest. Twins center fielder Denard Span was scratched because of a sore right shoulder.Ben Revere got his first major league start in Span's place and went 0-for-3 with a walk...Crisp and Cliff Pennington each had two hits for the A's.