Oakland at Minnesota

Fuld hits rare HR, helps A's complete sweep of Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- By the time Dan Straily took the mound for the second inning, he knew he just didn't have it.

His velocity nowhere to be found, the 25-year-old right-hander took the next step in his maturation process by gritting his teeth, focusing on location and changing speeds over anything flashy and shutting down the Minnesota Twins.

Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and Sam Fuld hit a rare home run to help the Oakland Athletics complete a three-game sweep with a 6-1 victory Thursday.

"It's part of learning from the past, from last year," said Straily (1-1), who gave up one run and struck out five. "On days when I didn't have my best stuff, I would try to pitch like I did and it would cost me. After the second inning, I realized I didn't have my 'A' stuff in my arm today. So it was just a matter of mixing speeds and keeping everybody off balance.

The Athletics' rotation has opened the season with nine straight starts allowing three runs or less and has compiled a 1.93 ERA in 56 innings.

"They've done a great job. So far, so good," Josh Donaldson said of the rotation. "Can't really complain about what they've done. That's what we expect from them."

Fuld hit just his sixth homer in 738 career plate appearances and singled. Donaldson had a two-run homer and an RBI single for the Athletics (6-3).

Mike Pelfrey (0-2) gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks in five innings. The Twins have had only one quality start in their first nine games.

Brian Dozier hit his third home run of the season for Minnesota.

Straily was selected in the 24th round of the 2009 draft, just another in the seemingly endless line of young, strong starting pitchers churned out by Billy Beane's Moneyball machine.

Last year he led all AL rookies in starts, innings and strikeouts, and he brushed off the early homer to Dozier to slow down the Twins for the rest of the game. He allowed two baserunners -- both on walks -- over his final five innings

"It wasn't his best velocity," manager Bob Melvin said. "He was throwing basically 87 mph today. But he's always got that slider in his pocket. He threw a few more changeups today and a few more curveballs, so he kept them off balance more than he typically pitches."

Pelfrey had no such luck, laboring through another poor outing for Minnesota's starting rotation. Donaldson's homer in the third inning put him behind 3-1 and he walked No. 9 hitter Nick Punto in the fourth before Fuld yanked a pitch just over the wall in right field for a 5-1 lead.

"I think all the way around, I was terrible today," Pelfrey said.

The cushion allowed the A's to avoid a save situation on the same day Melvin demoted struggling closer Jim Johnson, who is 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA in five appearances this season. The A's will go with a closer-by-committee approach while they try to get Johnson straightened out, Melvin said.

"We're all pulling for the same thing. We're all in it together," Straily said. "It's just a brotherhood mentality that we have in this clubhouse. It's something special."


The announced attendance of 20,650 was the smallest in Target Field history. ... Umpires reviewed a play in the sixth inning in which Jed Lowrie was thrown out at home by Twins CF Aaron Hicks. Umpires were looking to see if C Josmil Pinto was illegally blocking the plate. The call of an out was confirmed. ... Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said star prospect Byron Buxton likely will not start playing until May because of a wrist injury. ... The Twins open a series against Kansas City on Friday night. RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 1.80) will start the opener against Royals LHP Bruce Chen (0-0, 1.42). ... The Athletics head to Seattle for a series against the Mariners. LHP Tommy Milone will make his first start of the season on Friday night against Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (2-0, 1.88).

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Dan Straily provides another strong pitching outing for the A's despite not having his 'A stuff.' (USATSI)
Dan Straily provides another strong pitching outing for the A's despite not having his 'A stuff.' (USATSI)

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Oakland Athletics
Sam Fuld, CF5222003 .222
Jed Lowrie, SS4110100 .250
Josh Donaldson, 3B5123020 .220
Brandon Moss, RF5020001 .324
Yoenis Cespedes, LF5020012 .250
Alberto Callaspo, DH5120013 .444
Derek Norris, C4000115 .333
Daric Barton, 1B3011112 .118
Nick Punto, 2B2110202 .214
Dan Straily, P0000000 .000
   Ryan Cook, P0000000 .000
   Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
2B - Brandon Moss (3, Fien)
HR - Sam Fuld (1, Pelfrey), Josh Donaldson (1, Pelfrey)
RBI - Sam Fuld 2 (4), Josh Donaldson 3 (5), Daric Barton (1)
2-OUT RBI - Daric Barton (1)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Punto-Lowrie-Barton
Oakland Athletics
Dan Straily (W,1-1) 7311251 2.77
Ryan Cook 1000100 0.00
Fernando Abad 1000020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Straily 100-60, Ryan Cook 20-12, Fernando Abad 15-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Straily 9-6
Batters Faced - Dan Straily 25, Ryan Cook 4, Fernando Abad 3
Minnesota Twins
Darin Mastroianni, RF4000011 .000
Brian Dozier, 2B3111101 .167
Joe Mauer, 1B4000021 .250
Chris Colabello, DH4000010 .278
Jason Kubel, LF3010110 .448
Trevor Plouffe, 3B3000012 .333
Josmil Pinto, C3010011 .188
Aaron Hicks, CF2000100 .194
Eduardo Escobar, SS3000003 .200
Mike Pelfrey, P0000000 .000
   Samuel Deduno, P0000000 .000
   Casey Fien, P0000000 .000
HR - Brian Dozier (3, Straily)
RBI - Brian Dozier (4)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Aaron Hicks 1, Darin Mastroianni 1
Minnesota Twins
Mike Pelfrey (L,0-2) 5966432 7.84
Samuel Deduno 3300120 3.38
Casey Fien 1100010 5.79
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 104-58, Samuel Deduno 44-24, Casey Fien 14-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 4-8, Samuel Deduno 4-1, Casey Fien 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 28, Samuel Deduno 11, Casey Fien 4
Game Information
Attendance - 20650
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 59
Umpires - Home - Adam Hamari, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Victor Carapazza