Preview: Twins at A's

September 23, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics can clinch their first playoff spot since 2014 when they complete a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon.

The A's (94-61) have consecutive walk-off wins over the Twins to open the series and lowered their magic number to be assured of at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs to one.

Either an A's win on Sunday or a loss by the Tampa Bay Rays (86-68) earlier in the day would give Oakland fans reason to celebrate in the club's home finale.

Oakland has won the first two games of the series with polar-opposite walk-offs, getting a home run from Khris Davis in a 7-6, 10-inning victory on Friday before benefiting from a Trevor Hildenberger wild pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning for a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

The two wins allowed the A's to clinch a series win, which ran their run of non-losing series (13 wins, two ties) to 15.

The A's will send right-hander Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.77) in search of the team's fifth consecutive win on Sunday. Oakland has gone 4-1 on its six-game homestand.

The 30-year-old hasn't pitched since Sept. 9, when he experienced soreness in the rhomboid muscle in his back in a 7-3 win over Texas. He couldn't finish the third inning, having already walked six, given up two hits and allowed three runs.

Cahill was the losing pitcher when the A's suffered a 6-4 loss at Minnesota last month. He was roughed up for five runs and eight hits in five innings.

It lowered his lifetime record against the Twins to 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in seven games, including five starts.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson (8-13, 3.78) will take the mound for the Twins in his effort to avoid becoming the first pitcher since Corey Kluber in 2015 to finish a season with 15 or more losses while retaining an ERA under 4.00.

Gibson is scheduled to make one more start next week.

The 30-year-old has never won in Oakland, suffering 6-5 defeat in 2014 in his only start. He's 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three lifetime starts against the A's.

The Twins (71-83) have lost the first two games of the series despite out-hitting the A's 16-15. Catcher Willians Astudillo has gone 4-for-8 with a double and an RBI in the losses.

A's closer Blake Treinen (9-2) has improved upon his AL Cy Young Award credentials with wins in each of the first two games of the series. He threw two hitless innings Friday before allowing a bloop single to Astudillo in a scoreless top of the ninth Saturday.

The hit snapped Treinen's string of 14 consecutive hitless innings, which tied an A's franchise record.

Treinen enters the final eight days of the season with the second-most wins among AL relievers with nine, trailing only Tampa Bay's Ryan Yarbrough (13-3).

He ranks third in the AL in saves with 37, and leads all AL relievers in ERA at 0.83.

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