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Oakland at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Oakland (45-43) «4020110019120
Minnesota (36-51)0010010103141

Athletics 9, Twins 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Oakland Athletics have surged out of the All-Star break with a home-run binge that might even make those old Bash Brothers teams proud.

The best part for the A's? They've even managed to creep into the American League wild-card race.

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Chris Carter and Yoenis Cespedes each homered and drove in three runs, powering the A's past the Minnesota Twins 9-3 on Saturday.

"We wouldn't expect anything less," said Seth Smith, who also went deep along with Brandon Moss to beat Cole De Vries (2-2) and back Tommy Milone (9-6).

The A's (45-43) won for the eighth time in nine games to match their season high above the .500 mark, last done two months ago when they were 19-17.

The A's have gone deep at least once in 19 of their past 20 games and won 23 of their past 36.

"I feel like it's getting more consistent. We know that it's there, and it's nice to see," Milone said.

This team can't be confused with the juggernaut A's clubs of the late 1980s and early 1990s led by Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, but despite a majors-worst batting average of .226 they're in the middle of the pack in home runs with 88 in 88 games.

"The guys at the top set the table. Then you move on down the lineup," Smith said. "It's pretty deep."

The ball was flying all over Target Field on this steamy night, tying the single-game record for the three-year-old stadium, as the A's out-homered the Twins 4-2.

"We put some charges into the ball and were able to get them out of here. It's a big park, so there aren't really any cheap homers," said Smith, whose solo shot in the fifth was estimated at 432 feet. He added: "Sometimes you get all of it."

That's easier to do when the ball comes down the middle of the plate at the batter's belt.

De Vries had his ERA soar from 3.00 to 4.37, and the right-hander has allowed nine homers in 35 innings.

"Everything he threw was up," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The Twins had 14 hits and every starter had at least one, but they still lost their fourth in a row. Brian Dozier and Josh Willingham each homered, but twice the Twins were thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single.

Trailing 8-2, the Twins had the bases loaded and none out in the sixth after Trevor Plouffe's RBI single. But that threat fizzled after a fielder's choice dribbler back to the mound and an inning-ending double play grounder. Joe Mauer hit into a double play, too, with runners at second and third in the seventh after Ben Revere ran right into the tag.

Milone turned in the latest strong start by this young, surging A's rotation, which has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of the past 11 games. He allowed 10 hits but only two runs and one walk while striking out four in six innings. He's second in the league in wins by a rookie this season, behind Yu Darvish.

With Coco Crisp resting because of a sore left shoulder he aggravated swinging the bat and Cespedes still relegated to designated hitter duty due to a sprained left thumb, the A's moved Josh Reddick from right field to center, gave their first baseman Moss his first start of the season in right and put the recent call-up Carter at first.

The mild lineup shuffle helped create quite the power surge, the night after Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam to beat Francisco Liriano.

De Vries pitched seven shutout innings at Texas right before the All-Star break, but his sixth major league start was more like a batting practice session.

Even the outs were hit hard by the A's. De Vries got two quick outs before a sharp single by Reddick and a double off the wall by Cespedes that bounced past Revere's outstretched glove and ricocheted back to hit the right fielder in the collarbone after a mistimed jump.

"He's a strong human being," Revere said. "The pitch was low and away, and I thought it'd be routine. It kept going."

Then De Vries plunked Moss, and two pitches later Carter hit his three-run shot to make it 4-0 and establish the theme for the evening. De Vries lasted five innings, giving up seven runs.

Notes

A's LHP Brett Anderson marked the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. He's expected to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday, another significant step in his recovery. ... LH Brian Duensing (1-5, 4.11 ERA) takes the mound on 10 days of rest for the Twins in Sunday's series finale. He left his last start in the fifth inning after being hit by a batted ball on the left ankle. RH Jarrod Parker (5-4, 2.86), whose .216 opponent batting average is the lowest among rookies in the majors with 70-plus innings, pitches for the A's. ... Willingham, well on his way to surpassing his career high of 29 homers, has gone deep five times in five games this year against his former team. He has 22.

 
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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Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Willingham
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Oakland

Y. Cespedes
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jemile Weeks, 2B5000013 .222
Seth Smith, LF5122010 .252
Josh Reddick, CF5230011 .269
Yoenis Cespedes, DH5223012 .271
Brandon Moss, RF3211021 .256
Chris Carter, 1B4113010 .333
Brandon Inge, 3B4010010 .204
Cliff Pennington, SS4000011 .203
Kurt Suzuki, C4120000 .216
Totals39912909  
Batting
2B - Yoenis Cespedes (12, De Vries), Kurt Suzuki (12, Gray)
3B - Seth Smith (2, Gray)
HR - Seth Smith (9, De Vries), Yoenis Cespedes (10, De Vries), Brandon Moss (11, Swarzak), Chris Carter (4, De Vries)
RBI - Seth Smith 2 (29), Yoenis Cespedes 3 (39), Brandon Moss (19), Chris Carter 3 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Yoenis Cespedes (16), Chris Carter 3 (4)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Brandon Moss 1, Seth Smith 1
DP - Pennington-Weeks-Carter, Inge-Carter
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Milone (W,9-6) 61022141 3.54
Jordan Norberto 1.1311001 3.18
Evan Scribner 0.2100100 0.00
Jerry Blevins 1000010 2.50
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Milone 94-63, Jordan Norberto 23-15, Evan Scribner 14-7, Jerry Blevins 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Milone 8-3, Jordan Norberto 3-0, Jerry Blevins 2-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Milone 26, Jordan Norberto 6, Evan Scribner 4, Jerry Blevins 3
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF5030010 .278
Ben Revere, RF5020002 .317
Joe Mauer, C4110113 .328
Josh Willingham, LF4121011 .268
Justin Morneau, 1B4011000 .246
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4010010 .253
Ryan Doumit, DH4020003 .289
Brian Dozier, SS3111101 .241
Jamey Carroll, 2B4010012 .231
Totals37314325  
Batting
2B - Ben Revere (7, Norberto), Ryan Doumit (17, Scribner)
HR - Josh Willingham (22, Norberto), Brian Dozier (4, Milone)
RBI - Josh Willingham (64), Justin Morneau (39), Brian Dozier (23)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Denard Span (3, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Cole De Vries (L,2-2) 5677033 4.37
Anthony Swarzak 1311021 4.38
Tyler Robertson 1100030 6.00
Matt Capps 1000010 3.29
Jeff Gray 1211000 4.06
HBP - Moss (by Cole De Vries)
WP - Tyler Robertson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Cole De Vries 85-61, Anthony Swarzak 23-15, Tyler Robertson 19-12, Matt Capps 11-7, Jeff Gray 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole De Vries 3-9, Anthony Swarzak 1-0, Matt Capps 1-1, Jeff Gray 3-0
Batters Faced - Cole De Vries 22, Anthony Swarzak 6, Tyler Robertson 4, Matt Capps 3, Jeff Gray 5
Game Information
Attendance - 39084
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 90
Umpires - Home - Todd Tichenor, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Brian Gorman