Twins rally to beat Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Twins rallied to take the lead, then pushed across a couple of extra runs, too. This is more like the way manager Ron Gardenhire wants Minnesota to play on the road.
Pinch-hitter Jason Kubel hit a tying solo home run in the eighth, Delmon Young singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth and the Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Joe Crede tripled off Andrew Bailey (4-1) to start the ninth and Alexi Casilla entered as a pinch runner. He scored easily on Young’s single up the middle. Brendan Harris also added an RBI single in the inning and a pair of wild pitches by Bailey cost the A’s another run.
“That was huge,” Gardenhire said. “It kind of snowballed. We need to do that. We’ve lost so many close games on the road.”
Kubel’s drive was the third pinch-hit homer this season for the Twins, who have won two straight on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
Matt Guerrier (3-0) recorded the final out of the eighth for the win and Joe Nathan finished for his 13th save in 15 opportunities. For Minnesota, the past two games have to be encouraging. The Twins have won consecutive road games for the first time since April 24-25 at Cleveland.
“Hopefully it carries over tomorrow and we keep doing the little things,” Kubel said.
Michael Wuertz replaced starter Dallas Braden and gave up the homer on his second pitch, the first run allowed by Wuertz in 14 innings at the Coliseum this season.
Braden had been ill earlier in the day, but trusted the bullpen to protect the lead.
“It’s a huge shock but that decision was definitely a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s one that I would make again in a heartbeat. You know it’s pretty much a done deal every time. I think I probably could have put the upset stomach and tired arm aside for one more inning, so I’ll wear this one for sure.”
Rajai Davis singled twice, drove in a run and scored and Kurt Suzuki had an RBI double in Oakland’s second straight loss following a season-best seven-game winning streak.
Braden, Oakland’s opening day starter and the only non-rookie in the rotation, pitched well enough to win. He made a nice defensive play when he hustled forward and slid to field Matt Tolbert’s seventh-inning bunt and threw him out.
“Unfortunately tonight we couldn’t hold it down for Dallas,” Bailey said. “He pitched really well and deserved a win there.”
Francisco Liriano left in frustration yet again despite seven strikeouts, seeing his winless stretch reach six starts. He is 0-3 since his last victory May 9 against Seattle and hasn’t gone more than six innings since.
“I was able to throw the ball down today. It seems to be getting better every time,” he said. “If I pitch better, I might get the win sooner or later.”
Joe Mauer hit an RBI single and Carlos Gomez drove in a run on a groundout for the Twins.
Oakland got a scare when Matt Holliday was hit on the left knee by a pitch from Liriano to start the second inning. Geren and athletic trainer Steve Sayles hustled out to check on him, but Holliday stayed in the game.
The Twins sent center fielder and leadoff man Denard Span home to see a specialist after he left Tuesday’s game with dizziness. Gardenhire doesn’t plan to rush him back.
“I have no time limit on it,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve got to make sure he’s OK.
NOTES: Crede has five career triples. … Twins SS Nick Punto, on the 15-day disabled list since May 29 with a right groin strain, is on target to come off the DL on Friday. Alexi Casilla could be the odd-man out and headed back to Triple-A Rochester…. A’s DH/1B Jason Giambi got the day off save for a pinch-hit double in the ninth. … Oakland backup C Landon Powell and his wife welcomed a baby boy. Powell is scheduled to start Thursday afternoon’s series finale. … A’s reliever Dan Giese underwent surgery Tuesday for a nerve problem in his right elbow. “Everything went as planned,” Geren said. … Injured Oakland INF Nomar Garciaparra was scheduled for another MRI exam on his strained right calf.