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Oakland at Minnesota

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Oakland (85-61) «0040110208110
Minnesota (63-82)000000110271

A's tune up for Rangers, extend AL West lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- With Josh Reddick back and hitting home runs, the Oakland Athletics are bringing some more muscle and a bigger lead into a crucial weekend series.

Reddick homered and had three RBI, A.J. Griffin allowed just two hits in seven innings, and the A's beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 on Thursday afternoon to increase their division lead to three games over idle Texas in the AL West. It is Oakland's largest lead over the Rangers since Aug. 3. The teams are to scheduled play a three-game series this weekend in the Lone Star State.

"We know it's an important series, but we're not going to sweat about it," Reddick said. "We know we can beat those guys."

Reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after missing time with a sprained right wrist, Reddick hit an eighth-inning pitch from Brian Duensing into the right field seats for an 8-1 Oakland lead. It was his 11th homer of the season in his 99th game. He hit 32 in 156 games last year.

"Being able to hit it hard ... without my wrist hurting really felt good," said Reddick, who was also on the disabled list May 7-30 with the same injury. "Watching these guys the last two weeks it kind of stung not being able to be a part of it, but I was just hoping to come back and just jump on board and not screw up the rhythm. Hopefully, more days like this are coming."

Adding Reddick to a lineup that already has 26 home runs from Brandon Moss, 22 from Yoenis Cespedes, 21 from Josh Donaldson and 19 from Coco Crisp makes things much easier for manager Bob Melvin.

"We've got a lot of options right now, a lot of guys that are heating up offensively," Melvin said.

In winning his fourth straight start, Griffin (14-9) struck out eight and walked just one batter.

"I was working well, I was working quick, I had a good rhythm," he said.

Griffin struck out six of the first nine batters he faced, including four straight, and lowered his opponents' batting average to .165 the first time through the lineup, the lowest mark in the majors among pitchers with at least 130 innings pitched.

Other than allowing Oswaldo Arcia's home run in the seventh, Griffin, who has served up an MLB-leading 34 home runs, didn't have many problems the rest of the way.

"I feel like I can throw any pitch in any count and throw them effectively. It's a lot more fun when that's going on," Griffin said.

Minnesota had two runners on with one out in the fourth, but Arcia lined out to second baseman Alberto Callaspo and Brian Dozier was doubled off first. Dozier had walked.

Making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester, Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (5-11) lasted just 4 2/3 innings. He allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits while striking out one.

Before the game, Gardenhire said that Diamond appears to be a much more confident pitcher than he was before his Aug. 1 demotion. In six minor-league starts, Diamond was 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA.

The left-hander barely broke a sweat in retiring the A's in order in the first two innings before the Oakland hitters forced Diamond deep into counts.

"I wasn't able to put anybody away. I think that was the story behind my game today," he said.

One day after scoring 18 runs against the Twins, Oakland used some two-out hitting to take a 4-0 lead in the third inning.

Derek Norris led off with a one-out double and scored two batters later when Crisp hit into a fielder's choice. After a walk to Donaldson, Jed Lowrie had an RBI single leading to a mound visit by Minnesota pitching coach Rick Anderson. Cespedes then tripled off the wall in centerfield to plate two more runs.

Donaldson added an RBI single in the fifth and Reddick's sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Chris Young, who tripled to lead off the inning, to make it 6-0.

Notes

  • Gardenhire said C Joe Mauer, out since Aug. 20 with a concussion, did a workout Thursday and left the ballpark "feeling good."
  • The A's and Twins are scheduled to play a four-game series in Oakland starting next Thursday.
  • Cespedes has driven in a run in a career-best six straight games.
  • Dan Straily (9-7, 4.15) is to get the ball for Oakland on Friday when it begins its three-game series at Texas. Derek Holland (9-8, 3.17) will pitch for the Rangers.
  • Minnesota's Kevin Correia (9-11, 4.30) is scheduled to face Tampa Bay's Chris Archer (8-7, 3.19) when the teams open a three-game series Friday at Target Field.
 
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Josh Reddick adds some Oakland insurance with his 11th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning.  (USATSI)
Josh Reddick adds some Oakland insurance with his 11th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Oakland

J. Reddick
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Minnesota

O. Arcia
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF5201001 .257
Josh Donaldson, 3B3111200 .299
Jed Lowrie, SS5121002 .288
Yoenis Cespedes, DH5022012 .243
Alberto Callaspo, 2B4000013 .254
Chris Young, LF4220000 .201
Josh Reddick, RF2113110 .216
Derek Norris, C4120011 .234
Daric Barton, 1B4010002 .281
A.J. Griffin, P0000000 .000
   Dan Otero, P0000000 .000
   Grant Balfour, P0000000 .000
Totals36811834  
Batting
2B - Chris Young (16, Duensing), Derek Norris (13, Diamond)
3B - Yoenis Cespedes (4, Diamond), Chris Young (3, Swarzak)
HR - Josh Reddick (11, Duensing)
SF - Josh Reddick (5)
RBI - Coco Crisp (56), Josh Donaldson (84), Jed Lowrie (67), Yoenis Cespedes 2 (71), Josh Reddick 3 (49)
2-OUT RBI - Jed Lowrie (21), Yoenis Cespedes 2 (20)
SB - Coco Crisp (19, 2nd base off Diamond/Pinto)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Callaspo-Barton
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
A.J. Griffin (W,14-9) 7211181 3.81
Dan Otero 1311010 1.64
Grant Balfour 1200000 2.54
WP - Grant Balfour (9)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Griffin 97-64, Dan Otero 23-15, Grant Balfour 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Griffin 4-8, Dan Otero 1-1, Grant Balfour 2-1
Batters Faced - A.J. Griffin 23, Dan Otero 6, Grant Balfour 5
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, CF4011010 .294
Josmil Pinto, C4010012 .467
Brian Dozier, 2B3000100 .243
Oswaldo Arcia, RF4121012 .256
Ryan Doumit, DH4000011 .238
Josh Willingham, LF4010020 .210
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4110012 .245
Chris Colabello, 1B3000000 .196
Pedro Florimon, SS3010020 .228
Scott Diamond, P0000000 .143
   Anthony Swarzak, P0000000 .000
   Shairon Martis, P0000000 .000
   Brian Duensing, P0000000 .000
   Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
Totals3327219  
Batting
HR - Oswaldo Arcia (12, Griffin)
RBI - Alex Presley (11), Oswaldo Arcia (35)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Presley (3), Oswaldo Arcia (19)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Colabello, Colabello-Plouffe-Dozier-Colabello
E - Trevor Plouffe (13, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Scott Diamond (L,5-11) 4.2654210 5.61
Anthony Swarzak 1.1211010 2.88
Shairon Martis 1000110 0.00
Brian Duensing 1222011 3.88
Jared Burton 1100000 3.88
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 93-61, Anthony Swarzak 24-15, Shairon Martis 19-9, Brian Duensing 19-11, Jared Burton 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 9-4, Brian Duensing 1-1, Jared Burton 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 22, Anthony Swarzak 6, Shairon Martis 4, Brian Duensing 5, Jared Burton 3
Game Information
Attendance - 26188
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Todd Tichenor, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Dale Scott