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Minnesota at Oakland

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A's regroup, take down Twins behind Saarloos

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jay Payton endeared himself to his Oakland teammates and fans in a hurry, and he's been rolling ever since.

Payton hit a three-run homer to lead the Athletics over the Minnesota Twins 5-2 Saturday for their major-league leading 23rd win since the All-Star Break.

"It's been great. I'm having fun just winning," he said after hitting his eighth homer since joining the A's on July 13. "I still felt I could go out and play every day and I had to prove that to myself."

Payton, acquired from the Boston Red Sox, continues to add much-needed right-handed power for the A's. He hit his 13th homer overall, as the A's erased a deficit for the 36th time this year.

"He's been unbelievable," A's outfielder Mark Kotsay. "He's always been a good player and he's given us a huge lift."

Payton voiced his displeasure sitting on the bench in Boston but has been able to enjoy his time in Oakland. The A's have not lost two straight since a week before his arrival.

"That's a nice rebound after being shutout last night and falling behind 2-0 with their pitcher running through us," A's manager Ken Macha said. "To come back shows our resiliency. Jay has really given us a lot. The guy has just been terrific."

Kirk Saarloos (8-6) gave up six hits over six innings to win his third straight decision as the A's remained tied for the AL West lead.

"Pitching six quality innings and handing it over to the bullpen you're looking pretty good," Saarloos said. "They have been lights out down there."

Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer for the Twins, who lost for the fourth time in six games.

Saarloos, making his first appearance against the Twins, solidified his spot in the rotation with another effective outing. The right-hander, who has three or fewer strikeouts in 18 of his 20 starts, took a shutout into the sixth inning before giving up a single to Joe Mauer and Morneau's blast into the right-field bleachers. He walked three and struck out one in improving to 7-2 over his last 11 games.

"I feel just as strong now, if not stronger, than I did at the beginning of the season," Saarloos said. "I've been getting a week off, six days off, and that's helped."

Saarloos retired 14 of the first 16 batters he faced. Kiko Calero, Jay Witasick and Huston Street each pitched a scoreless inning. Street put runners on second and third with walk and a double to open the ninth, but struck out Jason Bartlett, Shannon Stewart and pinch-hitter Terry Tiffee for his 15th save in 19 chances.

Street gave Dennis Eckersley, who had his No. 43 retired before the game, some credit.

"I was exciting all day just knowing he was going to be here," Street said. "I knew I would get a chance to meet him. I felt like with him here we had to win. It was an added bonus. Everybody was excited the whole day."

Joe Mays (5-8) also carried a shutout into the sixth before allowing four runs to lose his fifth straight decision. He gave up six hits in 5 1/3 innings, losing to the A's for the first time in five starts -- spanning nearly three years.

"Payton didn't miss that bad pitch I gave him," Mays said. "I just hung a slider. It seems I make a mistake late in the game and it costs me."

Bobby Crosby's one-out triple paved the way for Oakland's rally. Michael Ryan tried to make a shoestring catch of Crosby's sinking liner but the ball skipped past him and rolled to the right field fence before Lew Ford could track it down.

"He was a bit over eager there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was aggressive with it."

Eric Chavez walked and Dan Johnson singled in a run ahead of Payton's towering shot over the right-center field fence. Payton pumped his fist in the air as he rounded first.

Mark Kotsay added his 10th homer, a solo shot off Jesse Crain, in the seventh to make it 5-2.

Notes

  • The Twins placed INF Juan Castro placed on the 15-day DL with right knee tendinitis.
  • OF Jacque Jones (strained right oblique muscle) hasn't played since Wednesday and a decision to place him on the DL will likely come on Sunday.
  • A's DH Scott Hatteberg was back in the lineup after missing six games with a strain in his right rib cage.
  • Eckersley's retirement ceremony helped swell the crowd to a season-high 47,385.
  • Minnesota lost its seventh straight day game.
  • Twins starters have not won back-to-back games since July 2-4.
  • Saarloos is 4-0 in day games, 11-3 lifetime.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Eric Chavez gives Jay Payton love after Payton's three-run shot in the sixth inning.  (AP)
Eric Chavez gives Jay Payton love after Payton's three-run shot in the sixth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

J. Payton
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Oakland

B. Crosby
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF5000017 .278
Luis Rodriguez, 2B4000002 .265
   a- Terry Tiffee, PH1000012 .200
Joe Mauer, DH4110010 .295
Justin Morneau, 1B4122000 .251
Lew Ford, CF3000010 .255
Michael Ryan, RF4000012 .172
Michael Cuddyer, 3B3000110 .266
Mike Redmond, C4030010 .267
Jason Bartlett, SS3020112 .237
Totals352822815 
a-struck out for Rodriguez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (16, Witasick), Mike Redmond (6, Street)
HR - Justin Morneau (16, Saarloos)
RBI - Justin Morneau 2 (56)
SB - Jason Bartlett (2, 2nd base off Saarloos/Kendall)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Rodriguez-Bartlett-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Joe Mays (L,5-8) 5.1644311 5.03
J.C. Romero 0.1100000 3.24
Jesse Crain 0.2211011 2.89
Matt Guerrier 1.2000110 2.70
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Mays 95-54, J.C. Romero 10-8, Jesse Crain 22-15, Matt Guerrier 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 12-2, J.C. Romero 1-0, Matt Guerrier 1-3
Batters Faced - Joe Mays 24, J.C. Romero 2, Jesse Crain 4, Matt Guerrier 6
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C3010101 .269
Mark Kotsay, CF4111003 .272
Bobby Crosby, SS4120010 .288
Eric Chavez, 3B3110111 .275
Dan Johnson, 1B4111001 .324
Jay Payton, LF4113001 .267
Scott Hatteberg, DH3000100 .277
Nick Swisher, RF3010101 .256
Mark Ellis, 2B4010012 .312
Totals325954310 
Batting
2B - Mark Ellis (15, Mays)
3B - Bobby Crosby (4, Mays)
HR - Mark Kotsay (10, Crain), Jay Payton (13, Mays)
RBI - Mark Kotsay (56), Dan Johnson (32), Jay Payton 3 (44)
Team LOB - 7
Oakland Athletics
Kirk Saarloos (W,8-6) 6622011 4.15
Kiko Calero (H,9) 1000120 3.82
Jay Witasick (H,16) 1100020 2.33
Huston Street (S,15) 1100130 1.42
HBP - Ford (by Jay Witasick)
Pitches-Strikes - Kirk Saarloos 85-53, Kiko Calero 18-10, Jay Witasick 22-15, Huston Street 25-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kirk Saarloos 11-6, Jay Witasick 1-0
Batters Faced - Kirk Saarloos 24, Kiko Calero 4, Jay Witasick 5, Huston Street 5
Game Information
Attendance - 47385
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Larry Young, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Field Culbreth