Norris, Vogt homer as A’s beat Twins 12th in a row
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) There’s nothing like a couple of timely home runs to get a stagnant offense back on track.
Derek Norris hit a three-run homer, Stephen Vogt added a two-run shot, and the Oakland Athletics won their 12th straight against the Minnesota Twins with a 9-4 victory Saturday night.
”We’ve been getting progressively better offensively the last few days,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”The homers help. We’ve been a little shy with those recently. That cures a lot of ills when you’re scoring two and three runs off one swing of the bat.”
Jeff Samardzija (3-1) improved to 3-0 at home since coming to the AL West-leading A’s in a trade from the Cubs on July 4. He followed winning lefties Jon Lester and Scott Kazmir, who kept Minnesota in check over the first two games of the series, with six tough innings that forced him to throw 109 pitches.
Vogt hit his second clout in three games in the fifth following a long funk. Norris connected for his 10th home run the next inning.
”When runners get on base that’s the time when you make your money,” he said. ”My power may not be able to compete with (Josh) Donaldson, (Brandon) Moss and guys like that, but I like to think when I do it’s meaningful and it’s not a solo home run when we’re up 8-0.”
Oakland drew seven walks in two innings to chase Trevor May (0-1) quickly from his forgettable major league debut.
May threw 11 balls among his first 19 pitches and received a mound visit from pitching coach Rick Anderson after issuing a bases-loaded walk to Norris. But left fielder Josh Willingham fielded Josh Reddick’s shallow fly and threw home for a nifty double play to save May further damage in a 21-pitch first.
Anderson was out again after May’s three two-out walks loaded the bases in the second. Donaldson followed with a two-run single.
May, winless in his last three outings for Triple-A Rochester, walked seven while throwing 63 pitches on a cool night when the 6-foot-5 right-hander’s parents traveled from Southwest Washington to be in the stands. The last Twins pitcher to walk seven was Francisco Liriano on Aug. 9, 2011, against Boston.
Long man Samuel Deduno relieved and gave up both home runs.
Samardzija allowed seven hits and two runs, struck out five and walked two as the A’s earned their first three-game winning streak since six straight victories July 3-8.
Oakland’s bullpen extended its scoreless innings streak to 29 2-3 innings before Jordan Schafer’s eighth-inning RBI double off Dan Otero. The A’s relievers set the mark Friday night at 28 2-3.
The Twins traded right-hander Kevin Correia to the Dodgers for a player to be named or cash. Minnesota will call up ex-A’s lefty Tommy Milone to start Monday in Houston. Milone was dealt to the Twins at the July 31 deadline for outfielder Sam Fuld.
”We are really excited to get him. We didn’t want to give up Sammy Fuld,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”We got a nice pitcher out of the deal, a guy that knows how to pitch in the big leagues, good track record. We’re going to get him up here. … We’ve made a spot now, and he’s going to get the ball.”
LA RUSSA’S FIRST PITCH
Newly enshrined Hall of Famer Tony La Russa threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach on a night La Russa’s bobblehead was the giveaway and a banner in his honor was unfurled in left field. He is the last manager to lead the A’s to a World Series (1990) and championship (’89).
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attended the game while on vacation with family, sporting a green A’s cap during his latest ballpark stop. He sat behind the A’s dugout.
Twins: After a three-hit performance in nine innings Friday night, first baseman Joe Mauer added two more hits as he again tested his strained right oblique muscle on a rehab assignment with Class-A Cedar Rapids. He is likely to rejoin the Twins on Monday to begin a series at Houston. ”Everything seems to be good,” Gardenhire said. ”We’re hoping Houston.”
Athletics: Second baseman Nick Punto is still working through stiffness in his right hamstring that he strained Aug. 2. He is not close to resuming baseball activities and won’t make the trip to Kansas City and Atlanta.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (11-8, 4.01 ERA), who snapped a three-game losing streak his last time out, faces the A’s for the 12th time in his career and second this season in the series finale.
Athletics: RHP Jason Hammel (1-4, 7.15) tries to make it two straight wins after losing each of his first four starts following a July 4 trade from the Cubs.