Twins’ bullpen stumbles in loss to A’s
MINNEAPOLIS — The Oakland Athletics broke out a little bit of everything Friday night to snap their two-game skid: efficient starting pitching, sharp singles, sacrifice flies and even their first bunt-single of the year.
And oh yes, home runs.
Sean Manaea (12-9) stifled Minnesota’s batters into the sixth inning, and Matt Chapman broke things open with a three-run homer and the A’s beat the Twins 7-1 on Friday night to maintain their hold on the AL’s final wild-card spot.
Stephen Piscotty and Ramon Laureano added a ninth-inning shot each as the A’s did just enough against Twins starter Jake Odorizzi (5-8) before pouncing on the bullpen.
“We’ve been playing so well and all of a sudden we have two losses in a row, which we haven’t had in a while now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “So now it’s time to respond and they did.”
After giving up some early runs in their last two losses, the A’s got back to the winning formula that helped them ramp up their pursuit of Houston in the AL West.
Manaea recovered nicely from a rough outing against Houston last weekend. He yielded an unearned run, five hits and a walk with one strikeout. He threw 50 of his 67 pitches for strikes before manager Melvin pulled him for Lou Trivino after Eddie Rosario’s leadoff single in the sixth.
“We have a full ‘pen today, and based on the last couple of starts I didn’t want to get him into a jam where he had a chance to take a loss,” Melvin said.
Up to that point, Odorizzi had pitched well himself, also allowing only one earned run off five hits and one walk. But Oliver Drake relieved Odorizzi in the eighth and found himself in trouble quickly, allowing a single and a walk before Chapman’s 18th homer, a shot to right that made it 5-1.
“Good teams can beat you in many different ways, whether it’s bunting to beat the shift, or it’s home runs or flare singles into right center, whatever,” said Jonathan Lucroy, whose RBI single in the fifth made it 2-1. “You’ve got to have a lot of weapons. You can just be one-sided with homers. We’ve got to beat you a lot of different ways.”
Eddie Rosario scored Minnesota’s lone run in the fourth on Miguel Sano’s sac-fly to center.
THAT’S A FIRST
Jed Lowrie’s bunt single in the first inning against the shift extended his hitting streak to four games.
“I thought they’d mistaken me for Joey Gallo,” Lowrie quipped of the Texas Rangers infielder. “I’ve never had four outfielders before. But I like hits.”
Odorizzi pitched seven innings for the first time this season after opening the year with 26 consecutive starts without an out in the seventh — the longest such streak in major league history. The Twins right-hander allowed one earned run, five hits and a walk.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a breakthrough,” Odorizzi said. “It’s nice to get the results when you feel like you’re feeling good and throwing the ball well.”
His lone fifth-inning walk proved costly when Odorizzi’s bad throw to second off a grounder allowed Lowrie to reach third and later score on Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly.
The crowd gave Joe Mauer a standing ovation after he singled off Manaea in the fifth for his 2,086th career hit, moving him past Rod Carew for second-most hits in club history behind Kirby Puckett’s 2,304.
“It was pretty special to see the guys at the top step, and the fans on their feet. That really means a lot,” Mauer said.
Manaea ended the two-on, two-out threat by inducing Logan Forsythe into a pop-fly to center.
Twins: Placed C Bobby Wilson on the 10-day DL with a sprained right ankle he injured Thursday night. The Twins called up Willians Astudillo from Triple-A Rochester. … Manager Paul Molitor said there’s enough lack of extension in RHP Ervin Santana’s injured finger to shut down all throwing activities.
The teams rolled out their players’ weekend jerseys, complete with nicknames across their shoulders. Among the highlights:
“Jedi” (Lowrie, although his nickname was officially listed “Capt. Barrel”)
“Sauce” (Marcus Semien)
“Logie Bear” (Logan Forsythe)
“Garv Sauce” (Mitch Garver)
And reserved hometown favorite Mauer? “Mauer”
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (9-6) takes the mound for his fourth start since joining the A’s from Detroit on Aug. 6. He’s 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA in three starts with Oakland.
Twins: Rookie RHP Stephen Gonsalves (0-1) makes his second career start. The touted prospect allowed four runs, six hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings Monday against the Chicago White Sox.