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Oakland at Minnesota

W: G. Perkins (1-1) L: B. Fuentes (2-1)
HR: OAK - None   MIN - J. Willingham (9)

Twins 3, Athletics 2

CBSSports.com wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two on, two-out, down by two in the bottom of the ninth.

The Minnesota Twins signed Josh Willingham to be their hammer in situations just like this, and the struggling slugger delivered in a big way against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

Willingham hit a three-run homer to lift the Twins to a 3-2 victory, their second come-from-behind win in as many days.

"You want to be in that situation whether you get a hit or not," said Willingham, who hit his fifth career walk-off homer. "Fortunately I was able to get a hit tonight. I've been on the other end several times as well."

Justin Morneau added two doubles for the Twins, who trailed 2-0 heading into the ninth thanks to a strong start from A's right-hander Jarrod Parker.

But Jamey Carroll led off the ninth with a single against Brian Fuentes (2-1), who then walked Denard Span. With two out, Willingham hit a 1-0 pitch into the bullpen and was mobbed by teammates at home plate.

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The Athletics squandered another late-inning lead to lose for the seventh time in a row. The Twins ended Ryan Cook's 23-inning scoreless streak in the eighth inning Monday en route to a 5-4 victory.

"Don't ask me how," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I really can't tell you. That's why you play nine innings."

Parker allowed four hits, walked four and struck out four in six shutout innings for the A's.

Glen Perkins (1-1) pitched the ninth for the Twins and Fuentes, the former Twins reliever, blew his second save in six chances this season.

Signed to replace the departed Michael Cuddyer, Willingham got off to a fantastic start, hitting .313 with seven homers in his first 31 games. But he was hitting just .203 with one homer and 11 RBIs in his last 17 games before stepping to the plate in the ninth against his former team.

"We weren't able to do a whole lot tonight offensively," said Willingham, whose Twins left 11 men on in the first eight innings. "We had some chances with some guys on and weren't able to get the big hit. Anytime you can come from behind and win a game like that, it's great. They're the wins that can kind of springboard you a little bit."

Collin Cowgill's base hit in the seventh gave the Athletics a 1-0 lead and Coco Crisp's single in the eighth made it 2-0, but that was all their weak-hitting lineup could muster while they wait to see if Manny Ramirez can give them a much-needed jolt.

The A's left 12 runners on base and couldn't take advantage of control problems by jittery Twins starter Cole De Vries, who was able to pitch five shutout innings while walking five and hitting another batter.

While Ramirez is working on his timing with Triple-A Sacramento following a 50-game suspension, the beleaguered A's offense entered the night hitting an MLB-worst .211 this season.

De Vries gave the sputtering offense plenty of opportunities to get going. He walked five and hit a batter in the first three innings, but the Twins turned two double plays and Seth Smith grounded out to first with the bases loaded in the third.

"It kind of baffled me how we didn't give up more runs than that, to tell you the truth," Gardenhire said.

De Vries is from the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie and played in college at the University of Minnesota. The 27-year-old was signed as a rookie free agent in 2006 and languished in the majors for six years before finally making his debut with the Twins this year.

This was his first start at home, and there seemed to be plenty of jitters early on. The right-hander was able to settle down eventually, needing just 22 pitches to get through the next two innings before giving way to Jeff Manship.

"I was fairly composed during my bullpen," De Vries said. "I could tell I was a little amped up. I went and sat down for a little bit but when I started to walk out to the mound, boom, right through the ceiling. I was like, `All right, let's calm down a little here."'


A's manager Bob Melvin said they are leaving their options open when OF Yoenis Cespedes comes off the disabled list. The A's are exploring the idea of moving Cespedes to one of the corner outfield positions, likely LF, and keeping Coco Crisp in CF. Cespedes' stronger arm and comfort with the idea makes it a possibility, Melvin said. ... Crisp extended his franchise record to 30 straight steal attempts without getting caught in the third inning. ... The Twins announced that LHP Phil Dumatrait, who was rehabbing a shoulder injury, decided to retire. The Twins then released him so he would be free to sign with any team if he changed his mind down the road. ... The A's will send RHP Tyson Ross (2-5, 5.79) to the mound in the series finale on Wednesday to face LHP Francisco Liriano (0-5, 8.47). Liriano will be making his first start since being demoted to the bullpen on May 9. He made five relief appearances. Ross is 1-5 with a 7.36 ERA in his last six starts.

Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game

J. Willingham
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

C. Crisp
AB 2
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Oakland Athletics
Jemile Weeks, 2B4010111 .214
Collin Cowgill, LF3011201 .240
Josh Reddick, RF3000212 .271
Seth Smith, DH3110003 .229
   a- Jonny Gomes, PH-DH0000100 .227
Brandon Inge, 3B5010024 .183
Kila Ka'aihue, 1B2000201 .239
Kurt Suzuki, C4110004 .212
Coco Crisp, CF2021100 .173
Cliff Pennington, SS3000005 .202
a-walked for Smith in the 9th
2B - Coco Crisp (2, DeVries)
SH - Coco Crisp (2), Cliff Pennington (2)
RBI - Collin Cowgill (3), Coco Crisp (6)
2-OUT RBI - Collin Cowgill (1), Coco Crisp (3)
SB - Coco Crisp (7, 2nd base off DeVries/Doumit)
CS - Collin Cowgill (3, 3rd base by Perkins/Doumit)
Team LOB - 12
DP - Inge-Ka'aihue
E - Jarrod Parker (1, Throwing), Jemile Weeks (5, Misplayed grounder)
Oakland Athletics
Jarrod Parker 6400440 2.88
Jerry Blevins (H,2) 1100020 1.96
Grant Balfour (H,1) 1000210 3.55
Brian Fuentes (BS,2; L,2-1) 0.2233101 4.12
IBB - Doumit by Jarrod Parker
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Parker 105-60, Jerry Blevins 14-11, Grant Balfour 20-11, Brian Fuentes 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Parker 9-5, Jerry Blevins 1-0, Brian Fuentes 1-1
Batters Faced - Jarrod Parker 26, Jerry Blevins 4, Grant Balfour 5, Brian Fuentes 5
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF2000300 .303
Ben Revere, RF5020004 .300
Joe Mauer, DH5100013 .298
Josh Willingham, LF4113121 .270
Justin Morneau, 1B3020100 .250
Ryan Doumit, C2000212 .256
Brian Dozier, SS4000013 .227
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4010015 .163
Jamey Carroll, 2B3110010 .238
2B - Ben Revere (5, Parker), Justin Morneau 2 (10, Parker, Parker)
HR - Josh Willingham (9, Fuentes)
SH - Jamey Carroll (4)
RBI - Josh Willingham 3 (32)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Willingham 3 (17)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Plouffe-Carroll-Morneau, Plouffe-Carroll-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Cole DeVries 5200510 2.70
Jeff Manship 1.1111000 6.75
Brian Duensing 0.2311000 3.20
Jared Burton 1100110 4.12
Glen Perkins (W,1-1) 1000320 3.43
HBP - Smith (by Cole DeVries)
WP - Glen Perkins (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Cole DeVries 92-51, Jeff Manship 19-9, Brian Duensing 16-11, Jared Burton 22-12, Glen Perkins 25-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole DeVries 6-6, Jeff Manship 3-1, Brian Duensing 1-1, Jared Burton 1-1
Batters Faced - Cole DeVries 21, Jeff Manship 5, Brian Duensing 5, Jared Burton 5, Glen Perkins 5
Game Information
Attendance - 31781
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Brian Runge, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Tim McClelland