It was a good day to be swinging the bat for the Oakland A’s, who beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3 Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
With leadoff man Coco Crisp out of the lineup with a wrist injury, the A’s jumped on Twins right-hander Kevin Correia early and got to the Twins’ bullpen by the sixth inning. The A’s knocked out 10 hits and started off their nine-game road trip on a positive note.
The only dark cloud for the A’s: Shortstop Jed Lowrie left the game with a contusion to his lower right leg after he was hit by a pitch from Samuel Deduno in the seventh inning. Lowrie is listed as day-to-day, and he’ll benefit from the A’s taking the day off Tuesday before resuming their series in Minnesota on Wednesday. Crisp also is day-to-day after receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist Sunday.
Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes each had two RBI, Derek Norris connected for his first home run of the season and Josh Donaldson had two hits and two runs scored as Oakland provided plenty of support for left-hander Scott Kazmir.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir continued a string of strong efforts from Oakland starters out of the gate. He surely didn’t have his best stuff. He also walked four, and the Twins got good wood on him early. But Kazmir (2-0) hung in for six innings, allowing three runs and six hits. Each of the A’s four regular starters who have pitched so far this season have gone six innings or more. The only starter not to last six was fill-in Josh Lindblom (and No. 5 starter Tommy Milone has yet to make his first start).
All of Minnesota’s runs came in the first three innings, and on a day when both teams were swinging the bats early, Kazmir did well to give the A’s some length and conserve the bullpen. He’s won his first two starts in an Oakland uniform.
The A’s welcomed back Ryan Cook from the 15-day disabled list, and Cook looked a bit rusty in working the ninth inning. He walked two but also struck out two in a scoreless inning. Fernando Abad and Dan Otero did nice work in making sure Minnesota didn’t chip away at a large deficit.
At the plate
Close your eyes, point at the box score, and you’ll hit an A’s player who did something to contribute in this one. Six different players scored, and five drove in runs. It started in the second, with Cespedes doubling in a run and Josh Reddick adding an RBI single. Oakland went back to work in the third and built up a 5-1 lead. That included a near-home run from Lowrie, which was upheld as having hooked foul after a lengthy instant replay review.
Moss delivered a two-run single and Alberto Callaspo doubled in another run. It was a nice day for Callaspo, who collected two hits in a start as the designated hitter.
In the field
Neither team committed an error. A’s second baseman Eric Sogard made a nice diving stop of Brian Dozier’s liner in the fourth inning, continuing a theme from Sunday when Sogard also turned in several standout plays.
A crowd of 35,837 showed up to the Twins’ home opener.
After a rare Tuesday off, the A’s and Twins continue with the second game of this three-game series Wednesday. Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.50) and Phil Hughes (0-0, 7.20) square off on the mound in a 10:10 a.m. contest.