Morneau ties, Capps saves Twins 5-4 win over A's
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Justin Morneau drove in two runs for Minnesota, including the tying double in the eighth inning for the Twins in a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday, the sixth straight loss for the Athletics.
Matt Capps was booed when he took the mound but bounced back from his first blown attempt of the season the day before by striking out his final batter, Jonny Gomes, with the bases loaded in the ninth to notch his 10th save and help the Twins stop a five-game losing streak.
Colin Cowgill reached on a fielding error by second baseman Alexi Casilla, who let a slow roller slide right under his glove to make the inning more challenging for Capps. Jemile Weeks walked with one out. The runners moved up on a line drive by Coco Crisp that Capps dropped but picked up and threw over for the second out. Josh Reddick, who homered and tripled earlier, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Alex Burnett (2-0) gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki in the eighth that put the A's in front 4-3 after Jeff Gray walked back-to-back batters with one out, but Kila Ka'aihue grounded into a double play. Then the Twins rallied with rare success against A's reliever Ryan Cook (1-1), who entered the game without a run and just four hits allowed in 23 innings this year.
Joe Mauer hustled for an infield single, stole second base and scored after Josh Willingham's walk when Morneau went the opposite way for a bloop down the line with the left fielder Cowgill shifted right. Ryan Doumit followed with the go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Travis Blackley made his first major league start in nearly five years, giving up just three hits, one run and one walk while striking out three in five innings for the A's. Putting the journey in journeyman, Blackley pitched in Korea last season and was claimed off waivers by the A's earlier this month. But the bullpen cost him his first win since July 1, 2004, his major league debut for Seattle.
Trevor Plouffe homered in the fifth for the Twins, and Willingham's double off Jordan Norberto in the sixth following back-to-back walks cut the lead to 3-2. Then Morneau tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
Outscored 25-6 over their last five games at home, prompting manager Bob Melvin to declare his offense was "beyond pressing," the A's broke their bats out right away on this road trip.
Reddick turned on a full-count curveball in the first inning for the lead and scored in the sixth after a leadoff triple that would've been out in many other ballparks. Ka'aihue went deep in the second, another no-doubter off Twins starter Scott Diamond.
Diamond has been, well, a diamond in the rough for this Twins rotation that's been by far the worst in the majors this season. He has completed six or more innings in four of his five starts since his call-up from Triple-A Rochester earlier this month. Reddick bashed two balls and Ka'aihue hit one hard, but almost all of the other contact Diamond allowed was on the ground.
The left-hander struck out four with one walk, nine hits and three runs across. Diamond left two on in the seventh after consecutive one-out singles, but Gray got the next two batters out to preserve the tie. Crisp popped up weakly to second base, giving him six runners left on base for the afternoon. He grounded into two of his team's four double plays.
The Twins lead the majors in both double plays turned and grounded into.
NOTES: Twins RH Cole De Vries (0-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start for the Twins Tuesday after losing his major league debut last week. He'll face RH Jarrod Parker (1-2, 3.38), who struck out a career-high eight batters over seven innings in his last appearance for the A's. ... Twins IF Jamey Carroll started 46 of the first 47 games before getting a rest Monday. "Sometimes you forget that he's 38 years old. He's going to need a break here and there, and he'll never tell you he does, ever," manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... A's RH Brandon McCarthy (strained shoulder) threw a bullpen session before the game and is scheduled to start Saturday at Kansas City when he's eligible to come off the DL. ... RH Jason Marquis, designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers. GM Terry Ryan said he'll be released.
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