Twins get rare win against Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Phil Hughes pitched seven strong inning, left fielder Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer and the Minnesota Twins beat Oakland 6-1 Sunday, snapping their 12-game losing streak against the A's.
The Twins beat the A's for the first time since Sept. 10, 2013, and avoided getting swept for a second time this season by Oakland.
The A's won three of four in the series and remained four games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West.
Hughes (12-8) allowed just one run on four hits, winning his second straight start. He struck out seven and walked one.
The Twins also had a solo home run from second baseman Brian Dozier in the first inning.
Minnesota and Oakland were tied 1-1 after seven innings, but the Twins scored three times in the top of the eighth when catcher Kurt Suzuki and Willingham, a pair of former A's, came through with huge extra-base hits.
Center fielder Danny Santana led off with a bunt single against A's reliever Luke Gregerson, stole second and, with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch. Suzuki drove Santana home with a double that hit high off the left-center wall, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.
With two outs, Willingham crushed a Gregerson slider deep over the left field fence for his 12th home run of the season, extending the Twins' lead to 4-1.
The Twins added two runs in the ninth off A's reliever Jesse Sanchez when Suzuki had his second RBI of the game on an infield single with the bases loaded. Sanchez also walked in a run.
Gregerson (2-2) allowed his first runs since June 25, snapping a span of 15 scoreless outings.
A's right-hander Jason Hammel allowed just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings but got a no-decision. He struck out five and walked two.
After being traded to Oakland on July 5 by the Chicago Cubs, Hammel lost his first four starts with the A's, but he won start No. 5 on Tuesday against Tampa Bay, allowing seven hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, then backed that up with another strong start Sunday.
Hughes snapped a three-game losing streak in his previous start, giving up one run over six innings against San Diego. He pitched another gem Sunday. After allowing a run in the first inning, he pitched six straight shutout frames.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, A's second baseman Alberto Callaspo led off with an infield single and moved to second on second baseman Eric Sogard's single to center, but Hughes retired the A's top three hitters -- designated hitter Coco Crisp, center fielder Sam Fuld and third baseman Josh Donaldson -- in order.
Dozier gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the first inning with his 20th home run of the season, an ongoing career high. With one out, Dozier lined Hammel's first-pitch fastball over the left field fence. Dozier's blast was the 16th Hammel has allowed this season, eight of those coming in the first inning.
The A's pulled even with a run in the bottom of the first off Hughes. Fuld lined a single with one out, stole second and scored on first baseman Stephen Vogt's two-out single to right. Two pitches before singling, Vogt nearly hit a three-run homer, but his deep drive down the right field line hooked foul.
The Twins squandered a great chance to take the lead in the seventh. Third baseman Eduardo Nunez lined a one-out single, stole second and moved to third on a Hammel wild pitch. After Hammel walked shortstop Eduardo Escobar, left-hander Fernando Abad came on to face left fielder Jordan Schafer.
On a 1-1 count, Schafer whiffed on an apparent safety squeeze that turned out to be anything but safe. Nunez got too far off third, and catcher John Jaso zipped a throw to Donaldson, who ran him down for the out. Schafer then struck out, ending the inning.
MIN ab r h bi OAK ab r h bi
Santana cf 5 2 3 0 Crisp dh 4 0 1 0
Dozier 2b 4 1 1 1 Fuld cf 4 1 1 0
Suzuki c 5 1 2 2 Dnldsn 3b 4 0 1 0
Vargas 1b 4 0 0 1 Moss lf 3 0 0 0
Wllnghm dh 4 1 1 2 Vogt 1b 4 0 1 1
Parml rf 4 0 0 0 Reddick rf 2 0 0 0
Nunez 3b 4 0 1 0 Gomes ph 1 0 0 0
Escobar ss 3 0 1 0 Jaso c 3 0 0 0
Schafer lf 4 1 1 0 Freiman ph 1 0 0 0
Cllspo 2b 4 0 1 0
Sogard ss 3 0 1 0
Totals 37 6 10 6 Totals 33 1 6 1
Minnesota 100 000 032 — 6
Oakland 100 000 000 — 1
E—Hammel 1. LOB—Oakland 7, Minnesota 8. 2B—K.Suzuki (22). HR—Dozier (20), Willingham (12). SB—Fuld (5), Nunez (7), Da.Santana (10), Schafer (4). CS—Nunez (3).
IP H R ER BB SO
P.Hughes W, 12-8 7 4 1 1 1 7
Fien H, 21 1 2 0 0 0 1
Perkins 1 0 0 0 0 1
Hammel 6 Z\c 4 1 1 2 5
Abad X\c 0 0 0 0 1
Gregerson L, 2-2 1 3 3 3 0 1
J.Chavez 1 3 2 2 2 1
Inherited runners-scored—Abad 2-0. HBP—Moss (by P.Hughes). WP—Gregerson (4), Hammel (2).
Umpires—Home, Lance Barrett; First, Brian Gorman; Second, Ed Hickox; Third, Pat Hoberg.
T—2:49. A—25,598 (35,067)