Oakland at Minnesota

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Oakland (74-74) «300020001690
Minnesota (89-60)000002000262

Rookie Cramer helps guide Athletics past Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Facing Joe Mauer in the first inning of his second career start, Bobby Cramer braced himself when the reigning AL MVP sent a liner back up the middle.

The ball hit Cramer's right leg, and he hurriedly picked it up and threw Mauer out at first.

"They're going to have to do more than that to get me out of the game," the 30-year-old Oakland rookie said.

Postseason Chase

Cramer earned his second consecutive win and Mark Ellis had three hits, helping the Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Sunday.

Besides the game, the AL Central-leading Twins also lost Mauer to a balky left knee. Mauer tweaked the knee while swinging when he grounded out in the sixth and was replaced defensively by Jose Morales in the seventh.

"We're going to see how it is the next couple of days and go from there," Mauer said.

Cramer (2-0) faced a much tougher lineup than he did in his big league debut last week at Kansas City. He was working on a three-hitter before Michael Cuddyer and Jim Thome went deep in the sixth.

The left-hander departed after Thome's two-out drive, but Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow combined for 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball.

"It was a better test," Cramer said. "There are some great hitters on that team and there were some fun at-bats, too. ... It's fun to face guys who are going to be in the Hall of Fame. Good lineup to face."

Ellis and Akinori Iwamura each scored twice and drove in a pair of runs against Francisco Liriano (14-8), who lost for the first time since July 9 at Detroit. The lefty is 8-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Iwamura hit a two-run single in Oakland's three-run first and Ellis went deep with two out in the fifth, hitting a 3-1 pitch into the seats in left-center to make it 5-0.

"It was good to come in here against a good team," Ellis said. "We know they rested some guys, they had a couple of guys out of the lineup, but that's still a good team. To come in here and win the series was huge."

Liriano didn't get much sleep the previous night thanks to a rash, but said his long night didn't affect his performance.

"Liriano just didn't have his stuff it looked like today," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was misfiring basically from the get-go."

The A's added an unearned run in the ninth after Gabe Gross' grounder went between shortstop J.J. Hardy's legs. Gross scored two batters later on Rajai Davis' single.

Gardenhire was ejected in the fourth after Thome hit into a bizarre double play. Davis appeared to drop Thome's fly ball to center, but replays showed he made the catch before dropping the ball as he prepared to throw to second. Delmon Young, who went to second on the apparent drop, was subsequently called out for not tagging up at first.

The manager pointed out that second-base umpire John Hirschbeck initially called Young safe at second after the throw.

"I think they understand that something was really screwed up out there," Gardenhire said. "Delmon had nowhere to go."

Notes

  • A's rookie Chris Carter went 0 for 3 and is hitless in all 32 of his major league at-bats.
  • Oakland 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff took batting practice as he attempts to return from back spasms. Manager Bob Geren said he is improving, but how Kouzmanoff feels Monday will help determine when he returns.
  • wins rookie Ben Revere picked up his first two major league hits.
  • Gardenhire confirmed Scott Baker will start Tuesday against Cleveland to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest. Baker has recently been bothered by tendinitis in his right elbow.
  • Twins CF Denard Span (shoulder) was held out of the lineup for a third straight game as a precaution, although he took batting practice and Gardenhire said he would be available to play if needed. RF Jason Kubel (wrist) also took some swings and rested.
 
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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Rookie Bobby Cramer, 30, wins his second consecutive start and helps the Athletics beat the Twins.  (AP)
Rookie Bobby Cramer, 30, wins his second consecutive start and helps the Athletics beat the Twins. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

M. Ellis
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Oakland

B. Cramer
IP 5.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 3
K 2
 

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Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rajai Davis, CF4011100 .270
Daric Barton, 1B4220111 .275
Mark Ellis, 2B3232200 .278
Kurt Suzuki, C5111006 .242
Matt Carson, RF4000022 .167
   a- Jeremy Hermida, PH-RF1000013 .194
Josh Donaldson, DH1000100 .148
   b- Jack Cust, PH-DH0000200 .277
Akinori Iwamura, 3B4012022 .178
Chris Carter, LF3000003 .000
    Gabe Gross, LF1100000 .237
Steve Tolleson, SS2000000 .262
   c- Cliff Pennington, PH-SS2010010 .246
Totals3469677  
a-struck out for Carson in the 9th
b-walked for Donaldson in the 6th
c-struck out for Tolleson in the 7th
Batting
2B - Mark Ellis (20, Liriano)
HR - Mark Ellis (4, Liriano)
RBI - Rajai Davis (47), Mark Ellis 2 (42), Kurt Suzuki (63), Akinori Iwamura 2 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Ellis 2 (18), Akinori Iwamura 2 (8)
CS - Rajai Davis (10, 2nd base by Neshek/Morales), Jack Cust (2, 2nd base by Flores/Morales)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Rajai Davis 1
DP - Davis-Ellis
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Bobby Cramer (W,2-0) 5.2522322 2.45
Brad Ziegler (H,17) 1.1000110 2.89
Michael Wuertz (H,10) 1100010 4.30
Craig Breslow 1000020 3.19
Pitches-Strikes - Bobby Cramer 87-56, Brad Ziegler 23-13, Michael Wuertz 17-9, Craig Breslow 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bobby Cramer 7-7, Brad Ziegler 2-1, Michael Wuertz 2-0, Craig Breslow 1-0
Batters Faced - Bobby Cramer 24, Brad Ziegler 5, Michael Wuertz 4, Craig Breslow 3
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ben Revere, CF4020000 .167
J.J. Hardy, SS4000013 .268
Joe Mauer, C3010000 .331
    Jose Morales, C1000000 .188
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3111112 .272
Delmon Young, LF3010111 .296
Jim Thome, DH4111002 .278
Danny Valencia, 3B3000100 .336
Jason Repko, RF4000022 .212
Nick Punto, 2B3000110 .249
Totals3226246  
Batting
HR - Michael Cuddyer (13, Cramer), Jim Thome (24, Cramer)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (75), Jim Thome (58)
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome (19)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Hardy-Punto-Cuddyer
E - J.J. Hardy (11, Misplayed grounder), Ben Revere (1, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Francisco Liriano (L,14-8) 5755121 3.44
Alex Burnett 1000120 4.36
Pat Neshek 1000310 4.26
Randy Flores 1000110 3.03
Jeff Manship0210000 2.92
Jose Mijares 0.1000100 2.63
Jon Rauch 0.2000010 3.27
IBB - Ellis by Jose Mijares
WP - Alex Burnett (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 81-49, Alex Burnett 29-16, Pat Neshek 24-10, Randy Flores 11-5, Jeff Manship 12-7, Jose Mijares 11-4, Jon Rauch 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 6-6, Pat Neshek 1-0, Jeff Manship 1-0, Jose Mijares 1-0
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 22, Alex Burnett 4, Pat Neshek 5, Randy Flores 3, Jeff Manship 3, Jose Mijares 2, Jon Rauch 2
Game Information
Attendance - 40088
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - James Hoye