Twins pour it on A's in latest start at Target

July 6th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- It took until 9:52 p.m. CT for the rain to finally stop in Minneapolis. Luckily for the few fans who stuck around at Target Field, the Twins' bats took over where the rain left off, pouring it on with 12 hits en route to an 11-4 victory over the A's late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

"I think everyone felt that we were here, that we wanted to play tonight rather than try to play a day-night [doubleheader] tomorrow with the travel day," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "When you win, it makes it look like a good decision, so I'm glad we got it in."

Seven of Minnesota's hits went for extra bases, including back-to-back homers in the fifth by Kennys Vargas and Max Kepler and an opposite-field three-run homer by Miguel Sano in the eighth that put the game out of reach. A's starter Sean Manaea was on the hook for six runs on seven hits in five innings.

Oakland added a solo homer from Marcus Semien in the second and a three-run shot from Danny Valencia in the eighth to keep the game close. Valencia's homer improved him to 8-for-18 with six extra-base hits and six RBIs against his former team this season.

Vargas' two-run home run was his first of the season after he was called up from Triple-A Rochester before Tuesday's game. Vargas had also doubled and scored in the second, recording his first multi-hit game since June 22, 2015.

"We heard a lot about how [Vargas'] right-handed swing was behind his left-handed swing, but tonight he centered some balls up, including the home run," Molitor said. "It was nice to see him respond."

Byron Buxton doubled twice, scored a run and made a tremendous running grab in his return from a few games off due to soreness. Kurt Suzuki added two hits and two RBIs for the Twins in support of left-hander Tommy Milone, who pitched six strong innings to earn his first win of the season.

"There's been a lot surrounding [Milone's] start tonight and I tried not to overblow it, but he responded," Molitor said. "We did see a little more aggressive Tommy tonight -- he tried to get in on some of those right-handed hitters and was rather successful."


Santana cuts down Smolinski: After the Twins took a 3-1 lead in the fourth, the A's mounted a rally of their own in the fifth spurred by a single and a stolen base from Jake Smolinski. Coco Crisp's two-out single to left looked to score Smolinski, but a strong throw home (measured at 96.6 mph by Statcast™) by utility outfielder Danny Santana sneaked past the cutoff man in time to nab the runner at the plate.

"It was a great throw," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "'Smoli' got a good jump when it was hit, and I didn't think there was any chance. Credit the throw for sure."

"It's a potential momentum-changer there for them to get back in the game, and we got off the field," Molitor said.

Semien keeps pace: Semien was left off the list of All-Stars announced on Tuesday, but the shortstop continued to show why he's been talked up as one, belting his career-high 18th home run in the second inning for his 44th RBI, which is one short of his career high. He also doubled in the seventh. Semien, who is the only A's player to start in all 84 games, is on pace for 34 home runs.

Milone bounces back: The Twins' left-hander needed a strong outing, and he delivered by scattering five hits and one run in six solid innings to tie his longest outing of the year. He never faced more than four batters in an inning and allowed only the homer to Semien. Milone hadn't lasted more than 3 2/3 innings in any of his previous three outings since he was recalled from Triple-A.

"I was just trying to attack the zone, keep the ball down and throw a lot of strikes," Milone said. "I don't think I really had to shake [Suzuki] off at all tonight. I felt good, and we were on the same page pretty much the whole night."

Schuster makes debut: Left-hander Patrick Schuster made his big league debut in the seventh inning. Summoned with two outs, Schuster struck out Max Kepler on just three pitches. He returned for the eighth and offered up a pair of one-out hits and a walk to load the bases before departing in favor of Liam Hendriks, who allowed Sano's three-run homer. The 25-year-old Schuster was called up from Triple-A Nashville on Monday and had his parents in the stands for his debut.

"Tried to get him in there with a good matchup for him," Melvin said. "I thought he looked good. It didn't look like there were nerves. He's pretty stoic. I like his stuff."


The 9:52 p.m. first pitch, following a rain delay of two hours, 42 minutes, was the latest in Target Field history. The previous record had been a 9:16 p.m. first pitch on June 19, 2014, in a 4-2 Twins victory over the White Sox.


Athletics: Right-hander Sonny Gray starts Wednesday's series finale, with first pitch set for 10:10 a.m. PT. Gray has a 4.42 ERA in six starts since his return from the disabled list and hasn't recorded a win since April 22.

Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana will take the mound in the series finale after a short night of rest for a 12:10 p.m. CT first pitch. He has a 2.41 ERA across 18 2/3 innings in his last three starts, but the Twins have gone 1-2 in that span.

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