OAKLAND -- Left-hander Jaime Garcia walked a thin tightrope for most of the night in his Minnesota debut, working in and out of trouble during the Twins' 6-3 win over the Oakland A's on Friday night, while giving scouts plenty of food for thought about a pitcher who potentially could
OAKLAND -- Left-hander Jaime Garcia walked a thin tightrope for most of the night in his Minnesota debut, working in and out of trouble during the Twins' 6-3 win over the Oakland A's on Friday night, while giving scouts plenty of food for thought about a pitcher who potentially could be traded for the third time in eight months.
Four days after being acquired from the Atlanta Braves, Garcia had an uneven outing while limiting the A's to three runs over 6 2/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out seven to pick up his first win in the American League after spending his first eight-plus seasons in the National League.
"This is the first time in my career with all this stuff going on," Garcia said. "I've been around for a little while. Once I get between those two lines it's about competing. There's no excuses. It's just executing pitches until they take you out of the game."
The milestone win didn't come easily for the 31-year-old Garcia.
Oakland loaded the bases in the second before Garcia got Ryan Lavarnway to strike out swinging and then induced an inning-ending double play grounder out of Matt Joyce.
The A's also got a leadoff double in the third but couldn't score, stranded another runner at second in the fourth and missed another opportunity in the fifth when Jed Lowrie hit into a double play with runners on the corners.
"[Garcia] has a way of bullying the righties a little bit with his fastball that kind of angles in and cuts a little bit," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We had some opportunities to score a few more runs … so he probably didn't pitch great, but he managed the game pretty well when there were runners on base."
Garcia retired six of the final seven batters he faced, leaving after Marcus Semien's two-out single in the seventh.
"He trusted his fastball a lot tonight," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think almost every hitter he faced throughout the evening was a first-pitch fastball. Even though you're a veteran and you've pitched for a couple teams, when you transition somewhere, under the circumstances it's just a different feel I'm sure for him. To get that one out of the way and put a win on the board was big for us.
"Those guys that can slow the game down, even when there's traffic out there, they make pitches and they find ways to minimize the damage."
It marked the third straight game that Garcia had pitched into the seventh and the ninth time overall this season.
That's one of the reasons the Twins added him to their rotation, with the hope he could help keep Minnesota in contention. But four straight losses before the series in Oakland dropped Molitor's ballclub six games behind Cleveland in the AL Central, which sparked rumors that the Twins might be willing to move Garcia.
Garcia said he hadn't heard the chatter and insisted he stays away from social media to avoid the rumors.
"I don't read anything that's going on out there," Garcia said. "I didn't even know about Minnesota. Everybody in Atlanta knew. I was the only one that didn't know, which is something that has allowed me to stay focused on the things that I can control.
"My job is to execute pitches for the Minnesota Twins right now and help us win as many ballgames as I can. If that were to change in the offseason or some other time, you adapt to whatever the situation is."
If Garcia is traded before Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, it would be his third in the last calendar year. Garcia was traded from St. Louis to Atlanta on Dec. 1, 2016, before getting shipped to Minnesota in exchange for Minor League pitcher Huascar Ynoa earlier this week.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Twins on Friday.