When Oakland pitching coach Curt Young ran to the mound after five pitches to tinker with Trevor Cahill‘s mechanics, it looked as if it could be a rough day for the Athletics.
When Cahill had to go down to the bullpen just one inning later to stay loose during a seven-run inning for Oakland’s offense, the game had already been decided.
Rajai Davis drove in four runs, Scott Hairston hit a three-run homer and the A’s jumped all over Minnesota starter Glen Perkins to beat the Twins 16-1 Wednesday in their highest scoring game in nearly two years.
The A’s scored five runs in the first and seven in the second – just the second time in Oakland history they opened a game with back-to-back innings of five runs or more. With all of that hitting, Cahill needed to head to the bullpen in the bottom of the second just to stay loose.
“That’s a good sign for the offense,” Davis said. “We were able to get out there and score some runs which we have been able to do lately.”
After scoring at least 12 runs just once all season heading into this series, the offensively challenged A’s pulled off the trick twice in three games against the Twins. Oakland rallied from 10 runs down to win the opener 14-13 and then broke out to the big early lead and coasted to the easy victory to win the three-game series.
Matt Holliday went 3 for 3 with three runs scored in what might have been his last home game in Oakland. The A’s don’t return home until July 31, by which time Holliday might be traded to a contender.
“That’s for you guys to talk about,” Holliday said. “I don’t worry about that. I have more things to worry about than that. I’m excited we won today.”
Orlando Cabrera reached base safely three times in the first two innings, scoring twice and knocking in two runs as the A’s took a 12-1 lead after two innings. Oakland finished with 18 hits.
The outburst helped Cahill (6-8) win for the first time in exactly one month. He allowed a solo homer to Justin Morneau in the first inning and nothing else in the rest of his seven-inning outing. Cahill had been 0-3 with a 9.87 ERA over his previous four starts.
Perkins (5-6) once again was done in by first-inning woes, allowing five runs in the opening frame. He walked two batters in the inning and the big hit came on Davis’ bases-loaded triple. Perkins has now allowed 20 first-inning runs in his 15 starts this season.
Things didn’t get any easier for Perkins in the second. The first two batters reached before Hairston knocked him out with his second homer since joining the A’s earlier this month. Perkins allowed eight runs and six hits in one-plus inning and complained of shoulder problems after the game.
Kevin Mulvey came in and allowed four more runs in the inning, including a two-run single by Cabrera that made it 12-1.
“Perkins didn’t have anything, and after that Mulvey couldn’t get them out,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just got murdered. It wasn’t much fun. Matter of fact, it was no fun. There was not really any fun.”
Mulvey was sent down to the minors after the game and Perkins will go see Dr. Lewis Yocum on Thursday to check out his sore shoulder. Gardenhire said Perkins will likely miss at least one start.
The A’s spent so much time at the plate in the second inning that Cahill needed to go to the bullpen to throw a few balls just to keep loose.
Cahill had his own early problems, although they were tame compared to the Twins. He threw five straight balls to open the game, drawing the visit from Young. But he escaped having allowed only Morneau’s third homer of the series. Cahill allowed five hits the rest of the way.
“He was actually shaky in the first inning,” manager Bob Geren said. “He was vulnerable a little bit early, but made a couple of pitches to get out of that inning. I think he kind of relaxed. He did a nice job with the big lead and did exactly what he was supposed to do.”
NOTES: Powell left in the fifth inning with a sore left hamstring. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run single in his place. … The A’s scored five runs in the first and six in the second in an 11-1 win over Milwaukee on July 11, 1970. … Oakland last scored 16 runs in a 16-10 victory at Detroit on Aug. 10, 2007.