Cotton K's nine to lead A's past Twins

May 4th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander struck out a career-high nine batters over six solid innings to help the A's snap a three-game losing streak with an 8-5 win over the Twins on Thursday afternoon at Target Field.

Cotton surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks to improve to 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA. He was hurt by solo homers from and Danny Santana in the second, but the run he gave up in the fourth was unearned after an error by in center.

Cotton out-pitched Twins right-hander , who continued his early-season struggles and saw Minnesota's win streak snapped at four games. Gibson went four innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks. He fell to 0-4 with an 8.20 ERA, and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game.

"I don't know that I've had a more frustrating stretch that I can even remember," Gibson said. "I completely understand where they're coming from. I understand they need to make a change and I have things to work on. It's a whole lot easier to work on those at Triple-A than here when you're trying to win games and get big-league hitters out."

The A's got out to a lead in the first on an RBI double from , before breaking out for three runs in the second. They tacked on a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from before connected on a solo blast in the seventh. put the game away with a two-run double in the eighth.

"They came back and scored a couple runs, and we kept adding on," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "So all of the things offensively that you want to see, get off to an early lead, keep adding on, grinding your at-bats, we did all of that today."

The Twins made it interesting late in the game, as hit a two-run homer in the eighth before they loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against closer . But he got to fly out to center before striking out to end the game.


A's strike first: The A's were helped by a rare misplay from center fielder , who was turned around twice on a hard-hit liner from Davis. Buxton couldn't make the play, allowing Matt Joyce to score from first. It was Oakland's first lead of the series and their first since Sunday.

"We missed a play in the first inning -- we all get that," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's not working [for Gibson]. It's putting us in a bad spot more times than not early in the season."

Cotton escapes jam: Cotton wasn't helped by his defense in the fourth, when Chris Gimenez ripped a single into center, but it bounced off Decker's knee, allowing Rosario to score from first and Gimenez to reach second. But Cotton escaped any further trouble, striking out Santana and Buxton to end the inning.


Buxton was removed from the game after making a running catch into the wall in left-center to rob Joyce of extra bases to end the fifth. Buxton exited due to precautionary reasons and passed the initial concussion protocol, but will be re-evaluated on Friday.

"He's banged up," Molitor said. "The concussion protocol tests came back relatively clean, but we'll have to probably check again tomorrow. Three times today, he got banged pretty good. He was OK to continue and wanted to keep playing, but I just didn't think he was right."


Healy was ejected in the eighth inning by home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski for arguing balls and strikes, after striking out for the third time on the day -- and the second time looking.


Athletics: The A's return to Oakland on Friday for a six-game homestand, beginning with three against the Tigers. Right-hander will be on the mound in Friday's 7:05 p.m. PT opener at the Coliseum, seeking his fifth win. Triggs has yet to allow a run in three starts at night this season, spanning 19 innings.

Twins: The Twins begin a three-game series against the Red Sox on Friday night at Target Field. Right-hander Phil Hughes (4-1, 5.06 ERA) is set to start and is plenty familiar with Boston, having pitched with the Yankees from 2007-13.

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