Instant Replay: A's magic number at two after pounding Twins

Instant Replay: A's magic number at two after pounding Twins
September 20, 2013, 9:45 pm
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The A’s have finished above .500 for 10 straight months dating back to June 2012. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Bartolo Colon’s 17 victories are the most by an A’s pitcher since Trevor Cahill notched 18 in 2010. (AP IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – On a night when they were spraying hits every which way, the A’s didn’t require much help from the Minnesota Twins. The visitors obliged anyway.
 
Minnesota’s shaky defense paired with Oakland’s clicking-on-all-cylinders offense, and the result was a 11-0 A’s victory Friday that made for one festive atmosphere at the sold-out Coliseum.
 
There could be much bigger reasons to celebrate Saturday.
 
Friday’s victory shaved the A’s magic number for clinching the American League West to two. That means if they win Saturday afternoon and the Texas Rangers lose that night, the A’s will celebrate back-to-back division championships.
 
They knocked out 11 hits Friday, highlighted by Yoenis Cespedes’ 25th homer in the second inning and Josh Donaldson’s two-run shot in the sixth, his 24th of the season. They were also helped by four Twins errors that either led directly to runs or aided an Oakland scoring rally.   
 
Once again, Bartolo Colon (17-6) was outstanding. The right-hander threw six innings of five-hit ball and has now tossed 19 consecutive scoreless innings spread over his last three starts. The last run he allowed came in the first inning of his Sept. 8 outing against Houston.
 
Colon’s 17 victories are the most by an A’s pitcher since Trevor Cahill notched 18 in 2010.
 
The A’s, 14-5  this month, have clinched a  winning September, giving them a winning record for  all six months of the regular season. It’s just the fifth time they’ve accomplished that since moving to Oakland in 1968. The 1971, 1972, 1990 and 2003 squads also did it.  
 
The A’s have also finished above .500 for 10 straight months dating back to June 2012. That’s their longest such streak since a 10-month string from June 2002-September 2003.
 
Starting pitching report
 
Colon struck out eight and walked just one over his six innings. Five of his strikeouts were looking, most coming with a two-seam fastball that froze Minnesota hitters as it crossed through the heart of the plate. Colon’s velocity once again was good, touching 94 mph, and his location looked every bit as good as it did during his standout first half of the season.
 
Bullpen report
 
There were no nail-biting moments courtesy of the ‘pen in this one. Tommy Milone and Evan Scribner finished what Colon started without incident.
 
At the plate
 
There were lots of contributions up and down the lineup card. The A’s scored three in the second, with Cespedes getting things started when he drove a pitch from Andrew Albers (2-4) deep over the wall in left-center. Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia had a rough inning, losing Derek Norris’ liner in the lights and misplaying Daric Barton’s single down the line that went for a two-base error and scored Josh Reddick.
 
Oakland broke things open with a five-run fifth that made it 9-0. Alberto Callaspo delivered one of his two RBI singles that inning. A throwing error from Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar brought home two more runs.
 
Derek Norris was 2 for 3 with three runs.
 
In the field
 
Callaspo, not known for his glove at second base, turned in an outstanding play in the fifth with a diving stop and throw on Alex Presley’s sharp grounder. Coco Crisp made a nice running catch at the wall in the seventh.
 
Attendance
 
“Star Wars fireworks night” drew a standing-room-only sellout of 36,067. Or maybe the big crowd was a delayed response to Lew Wolff’s recent comments about poor attendance.
 
Up next
 
After absorbing his first loss since May 22 in his last start, Jarrod Parker (11-7, 3.81) will look to rebound Saturday. He’ll oppose left-hander Pedro Hernandez (3-1, 5.26). First pitch is 1:05 p.m.

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