Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 9, Twins 4

July 15, 2012, 9:26 pm
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The A's came out of the gate like a thoroughbred ridden by a maniacal jockey, leaving Twins starting pitcher Brian Duensing in the dust. He was knocked out after just two innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. With their second consecutive four-homer game the A's powered their way to a 9-4 win.The swinging A's have hit nine home runs over the course of this three-game sweep of the Twins. Oakland is now a season-high three games over .500 and a 12 a game behind Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card spot.At the PlateA's manager Bob Melvin is pulling all the right strings -- call him the puppet master. He started Gomes in the second spot in the lineup for the first time this season -- all Gomes did was go 3 for 4 with a two-run homer and three runs scored.Gomes launched one of the A's four homers on Sunday. The A's have so much pop lately that the late, great Orville Redenbacher would be jealous. They now have 92 home runs this season. They hit 114 all of last year.Yoenis Cespedes smashed an outside pitch to dead center for a solo homer in the second inning. Chris Carter upped the ante with a blast to right-center that hit the facing of the second deck. Cespedes and Carter's back-to-back blasts gave the A's a 6-2 lead. In addition to his homer, Carter drew three walks.Cespedes ended up going 4 for 5 with three RBI, his first career four-hit game. He looked unstoppable in this series. The Cuban-born slugger sprayed the ball all over the field, doing a particularly good job of hitting the ball to the opposite field. When he is healthy he is scary good.Seth Smith was moved down to the eighth spot in the lineup -- shocker, another Melvin move that worked. He clubbed his 10th homer of the season in the sixth inning. The A's now have five hitters on the team with double-digit home runs. (Reddick-20, Moss-11, Cespedes-11, Gomes-10, Smith-10.)After Smith's homer in the sixth, Cespedes hit an RBI-single. The A's eventually loaded the bases in that frame, scoring another run on a wild pitch with Brandon Inge batting, making the score 9-2.Inge came to the plate three different times with the bases loaded on Sunday. He went hitless in all three of those plate appearances, ending the day 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. He left eight men on base.Starting Pitching ReportJarrod Parker pitched on a full week's rest and had enough run support to be at ease on the mound. Even though it wasn't one of his best performances, the 23-year-old rookie got his sixth win. He allowed four runs on nine hits, but didn't walk any batters which is a great sign. Parker has all the makings of a frontline starting pitcher, but his one weakness is issuing walks. Bullpen ReportJerry Blevins pitched a clean seventh inning and came back out for the eighth. He got two more outs in that frame before being relieved by Evan Scribner, who got the last out of the inning. Scribner stayed in the game for the ninth inning and pitched a scoreless frame.In the FieldJarrod Parker got charged with an error when he fielded a comebacker and bounced a throw to shortstop Brandon Hicks, who could have turned a double play if the throw was better. When all was said and done it only ended up costing the A's one run.As rough of a day as Inge had at the plate, he made a sensational play to end the eighth inning. The third baseman dove to his right stealing a double off the bat of Trevor Plouffe, then fired to first for the out.Up NextThe A's head home and get the day off on Monday, before beginning a pivotal six-game stretch with two games against the Rangers and four against the Yankees.Oakland will be sending Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.80 ERA) to the mound against the Rangers. It will be his third start since being reinstated from the disabled list. Colon is 18-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 28 career starts against the Rangers.Roy Oswalt (2-1, 6.26 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rangers. The veteran righty has made four starts this season after sitting out the first two and a half months of the season. He gave up nine runs on July 3 against the White Sox, but allowed just one run against the Twins over 5.2 innings in his last start. Former A'sBen Sheets got his first win since July 10, 2010 -- when he was with the A's. He threw six innings of shutout ball against the Mets. The veteran righty who has returned from "Tommy John" surgery allowed just two hits and struck out five hitters.Trevor Cahill went 5.1 innings for the Diamondbacks agains the Cubs. He allowed three runs on four hits. Cahill was part of the swap that sent Parker to the A's.

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