There will be plenty of drama for the Oakland Athletics as they head down the home stretch in the pennant race. Probably not the kind of drama that unfolded Wednesday night against the Minnesota Twins, though.
Jed Lowrie’s foul ball that turned into a two-run double after umpires changed the call highlighted a 10-run fourth inning as Oakland pounded Minnesota 18-3.
Every Oakland starter had at least one hit, one run and one RBI as the A’s recorded a season-high 22 hits and extended their lead over Texas in the American League West to three games.
Lowrie, Coco Crisp and Stephen Vogt also homered. Yoenis Cespedes had three RBI to help the A’s score their most runs in a game since beating Boston 20-2 on Aug. 31, 2012.
”Once we got rolling there, we never stopped,” Josh Donaldson said.
Lowrie’s foul ball turned two-run double helped keep the A’s rolling in the fourth.
With runners on second and third and three runs already in, Lowrie lined a ball down the line that first-base umpire Bill Miller ruled foul as he danced out of the way.
Lowrie pointed at the ground inside the white line where he thought the ball hit. Oakland manager Bob Melvin came out to argue, and Lowrie was eventually awarded a two-run double after the entire umpire crew huddled and changed the call.
”Bottom line is that’s an impossible call for Bill,” Lowrie said. ”His natural reaction is to get out of the way. They told me they just want to get the calls right, and they did.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected by Miller after a long argument, the fifth time he has been tossed this season and the 67th ejection of his career.
Fans at Target Field sarcastically cheered Miller when he gave the foul signal after Brandon Moss, the next batter, lined a foul ball down the first-base line.
Gardenhire didn’t want to talk about the call after the game.
”We’re not going to talk about anything else. I’m not going to talk about all that crap,” he said. ”Can’t do anything about it now.”
Sonny Gray (3-3), who had received fewer than four runs of support over his past six starts, struck out seven in five innings for the win.
The right-hander had to sit in the dugout for 35 minutes during the marathon fourth inning, but welcomed the extra run support.
”I wish we could score as many runs as possible every day,” Gray said. ”It’s a confidence boost for our whole team.”
Gray almost had a couple more runs.
In the fifth, Josh Reddick of the A’s drove a ball off the top of the wall in the right-field corner that Miller ruled a home run.
The call was overturned after a replay review — the first at Target Field this season — and Reddick had to trot back out of the dugout to second base.
Mike Pelfrey (5-12) was removed with no outs in the fourth, before all the theatrics that followed Lowrie’s hit. He allowed seven runs and eight hits and has won just once since July 11.
”This is probably the worst outing I’ve had in a long time,” Pelfrey said. ”I fell behind guys and threw balls over the middle, and that’s what’s going to happen.”
Relievers Josh Roenicke and Ryan Pressly combined to allow six runs and six hits before the fourth inning was finally finished.
Eric Fryer, called up from Triple-A Rochester on Monday, hit his first career home run in the sixth to give the few fans remaining at Target Field something to cheer about.
The Twins allowed season highs in runs and hits.
”I’ve been a part of some games that have been lopsided,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”But never a game where all the starters had one hit, one RBI and one run scored.”
As it tries to hold off the Rangers down the stretch, Oakland will play the Twins five more times. The A’s will only see the Rangers for one more three-game series — this weekend in Texas.
NOTES: Twins GM Terry Ryan said C Joe Mauer ”didn’t have a good day” so the team sent him home early. Mauer, out since Aug. 20, had been making progress in returning from a concussion. … Reddick was not in the starting lineup for the second straight day after being activated from the 15-day DL with a right wrist injury. He entered the game in the bottom of the fourth. … Baseball America selected 19-year-old Twins CF Byron Buxton as its minor league player of the year on Wednesday. ”Couldn’t be more proud of the kid. Heck, that’s quite the year he’s had,” Ryan said. … Buxton hit .334 with 49 extra base hits and 55 stolen bases during stints at Single-A Fort Myers and Low-A Cedar Rapids this season. … Scott Diamond (5-10, 5.52 ERA) will make his first start for the Twins since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester in Thursday’s series finale. A.J. Griffin (13-9, 3.91) will start for Oakland.