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Oakland at Minnesota

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Oakland2001110005100
Minnesota «02010004x7130

Big Hurt's homer streak ends as Twins rally with big eighth

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau came through in the clutch again Tuesday night.

Morneau's two-run double highlighted a four-run eighth inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

"I've been in that situation enough times that you learn to relax and do what you need to do and block everything else out," said Morneau, who was showered with chants of "MVP" after his big hit.

"Yeah, it was pretty cool with all the fans chanting," Morneau said. "But, the more important thing is the turnaround the team's had."

Morneau and Jason Tyner each went 3-for-4 with two RBI for Minnesota, which won its fifth straight and remained 1½ games behind Detroit in the American League Central. The Twins began the day with a 1½ game lead over Chicago in the wild-card race.

Morneau now has 120 RBI, moving him into fifth place behind Kirby Puckett (121) on the Twins all-time single-season list. He is batting .422 in September with five doubles, a triple, a homer, 10 RBI and 11 runs.

"He's an MVP candidate, absolutely," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We wouldn't be here without him, that's for sure, and he's worked his tail off."

With the Twins trailing 5-3 Nick Punto led off the eighth with a single off Joe Kennedy (4-1). Joe Mauer walked and Michael Cuddyer hit a ground-rule double to make it 5-4, and Morneau followed with a double to deep center. Morneau later scored on a wild pitch.

"We just pecked away and pecked away and it was one of those things where you get up there and everyone's pulling for each other," Morneau said.

Dennys Reyes (5-0) pitched the eighth and Joe Nathan got the last three outs for his 32nd save in 34 chances as the Twins got their 44th come-from-behind win this season.

Eric Chavez homered and drove in three runs for Oakland, which entered the game with a 5½ game lead over the Angels in the American League West.

"The starting pitching gave us enough, and we scored enough runs, but the bullpen didnt get it done," manager Ken Macha said.

With the score tied 3-all, Dan Johnson led off the fifth with a 412-foot homer off reliever Willie Eyre to give Oakland the lead. The As made it 5-3 on Marco Scutaros RBI single in the sixth, but the lead was gone in the eighth.

"Any loss is tough at this point," Johnson said. "They make you play nine innings."

"We had that game won, bottom line," Jay Payton said. "We had enough runs to win but let it get away."

Oakland went right after spot starter Matt Guerrier with consecutive hits by Jason Kendall and Mark Ellis to open the game. Two outs later, Chavez hit a two-run triple.

The Twins came back with two runs in the second despite a double play and two baserunning mistakes. Morneau doubled and Torii Hunter singled to start the inning. Rondell White then laced a shot to left that Nick Swisher caught and threw on a line to the plate to double up Morneau trying to tag and score.

Hunter was picked off before the next pitch but reached second base safely before scoring on Tyner's two-out single. Luis Castillo had an RBI single to make it 2-2. However, Castillo got caught in a rundown and tagged out before the next pitch.

Chavez hit a solo homer, his 19th, off Guerrier in the fourth to make it 3-2.

The Twins came back again in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, White doubled and scored on Tyner's opposite-field single off Saarloos.

Notes

  • RHP Brad Radke, out with a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder, threw before the game for the first time in two weeks. He said the session was pain-free and better than expected.
  • The Twins used a season-high six pitchers in the game, the fifth time that has happened this year.
  • Frank Thomas went 0-for-4 to snap a string of six straight games with a homer. It was a franchise record and a personal best for Thomas.
  • Kennedy gave up a run for the first time since May 3, a span of 14 appearances and 16 1/3 scoreless innings. He lost for the first time since Sept. 27, 2005.
  • Nick Swisher picked up his fifth outfield assist this season and second this week.
 
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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The A's chase Matt Guerrier after four innings, but Minnesota rallies with four runs in the eighth.  (AP)
The A's chase Matt Guerrier after four innings, but Minnesota rallies with four runs in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Oakland

E. Chavez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C4120110
Mark Ellis, 2B4110102
Milton Bradley, RF4010122
Frank Thomas, DH4000006
Eric Chavez, 3B4123013
Jay Payton, CF4110001
Nick Swisher, LF4010020
Dan Johnson, 1B4111012
Marco Scutaro, SS4011011
Totals3651053817 
Batting
3B - Eric Chavez (, Guerrier)
HR - Eric Chavez (, Guerrier), Dan Johnson (, Eyre)
RBI - Eric Chavez 3 (), Dan Johnson (), Marco Scutaro ()
2-OUT RBI - Eric Chavez 2 (), Marco Scutaro ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Nick Swisher 1
DP - Swisher-Kendall, Ellis-Scutaro-Johnson, Chavez-Ellis-Johnson, Chavez-Johnson
Oakland Athletics
Kirk Saarloos 5.1833220
Kiko Calero (H,) 0.2000000
Joe Kennedy (BS,; L,-) 1544100
Justin Duchscherer 1000020
WP - Joe Kennedy (), Justin Duchscherer ()
Pitches-Strikes - Kirk Saarloos 88-50, Kiko Calero 4-2, Joe Kennedy 27-19, Justin Duchscherer 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kirk Saarloos 7-4, Kiko Calero 1-0, Joe Kennedy 1-1, Justin Duchscherer 1-1
Batters Faced - Kirk Saarloos 23, Kiko Calero 1, Joe Kennedy 8, Justin Duchscherer 4
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B4021011
Nick Punto, 3B4110003
Joe Mauer, C2100201
Michael Cuddyer, RF4111001
Justin Morneau, 1B4132010
Torii Hunter, CF4110002
Rondell White, LF4110011
    Lew Ford, LF0000000
Jason Tyner, DH4132010
Jason Bartlett, SS3010102
Totals3371363411 
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (, Kennedy), Justin Morneau 2 (, Saarloos, Kennedy), Rondell White (, Saarloos)
RBI - Luis Castillo (), Michael Cuddyer (), Justin Morneau 2 (), Jason Tyner 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Luis Castillo (), Jason Tyner 2 ()
SB - Torii Hunter (, 2nd base off Saarloos/Kendall)
CS - Luis Castillo (, 2nd base by Saarloos/Kendall)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Matt Guerrier 4433031
Willie Eyre 0.1111301
Pat Neshek 1.1311010
Jesse Crain 1.1100000
Dennys Reyes (W,-) 1100020
Joe Nathan (S,) 1000020
WP - Matt Guerrier (), Willie Eyre ()
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Guerrier 68-43, Willie Eyre 22-7, Pat Neshek 29-19, Jesse Crain 8-6, Dennys Reyes 12-10, Joe Nathan 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Guerrier 3-6, Willie Eyre 1-0, Jesse Crain 3-0, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Joe Nathan 1-0
Batters Faced - Matt Guerrier 16, Willie Eyre 5, Pat Neshek 7, Jesse Crain 4, Dennys Reyes 4, Joe Nathan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20991
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Randy Marsh