Matsui helps A’s beat Twins 8-3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Scott Sizemore hit a three-run double in the fifth inning and the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3 on Saturday night.
Hideki Matsui singled twice and reached five times for the A’s, who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Twins. Matsui is batting a major league-best .473 since the All-Star break.
Oakland also got three hits from Conor Jackson and two from Coco Crisp, who is being mentioned in trade rumors as Sunday’s non-waiver deadline approaches. Cliff Pennington extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games and scored the go-ahead run in the second.
Jim Thome had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which missed an opportunity to gain ground on AL Central-leading Detroit. The Tigers lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Angels.
Oakland also was working Saturday night to finalize a trade that would send right-hander Rich Harden to the Boston Red Sox. Neither team had made a formal announcement ahead of today’s 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
The oft-injured Harden is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five starts since coming off the 60-day disabled on July 1. He has been mentioned in trade talks for several weeks and could help bolster the Red Sox rotation with Clay Buchholz on the disabled list.
Guillermo Moscoso survived a shaky start to pitch 6 1-3 effective innings against Minnesota, winning for only the second time in his last 11 starts after opening his season with back-to-back wins over the Angels and Orioles.
Moscoso (4-5) allowed two runs – both coming in the first inning – and seven hits. The rookie right-hander retired 14 of 16 during one stretch and left with a 7-2 lead.
Brad Ziegler, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey completed the eight-hitter for the A’s.
Nick Blackburn (7-8) struggled again for Minnesota, charged with seven runs, six earned, and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander walked five and struck out two.
Blackburn also started the Twins’ 20-6 loss to Texas last Monday and was tagged for nine runs in 2 2-3 innings.
Crisp, who singled and scored in the first, made it 8-2 when he scored on a passed ball in the sixth.
Matsui, Oakland’s biggest offseason acquisition, hit .209 in the first half but has been on a tear since the break. He walked in his first two plate appearances, singled and scored in the fifth and reached on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
Michael Cuddyer hit an RBI single in the first for Minnesota, winning a nine-pitch battle with Moscoso. Thome doubled and scored on Delmon Young’s single to make it 2-1 in the second.
Oakland pushed across two runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good. Jemile Weeks drove in Pennington with a triple, making it 3-2.
NOTES: The A’s placed RHP Michael Wuertz on the 15-day disabled list with a thumb injury and recalled LHP Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Sacramento. … RF David DeJesus was pulled in the third inning with what the A’s announced as right thumb soreness. … Twins star Joe Mauer went into the game with a career .324 average at the Coliseum but went 0 for 4.