OAKLAND – Stash it away in the win column and move on.
That’s probably the best thing the A’s can do with Friday’s 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins. It was a rout that turned into a nail-biter, a game that was tough for the A’s to feel great about other than the fact they wound up shaking hands on the infield after it was over.
Oakland appeared on cruise control, leading 6-0 after six innings with Scott Kazmir dealing on the mound. The lefty had faced the minimum through six before the Twins rallied for five runs in the seventh to cut their deficit to one.
But Sean Doolittle shut the door in the ninth, allowing a leadoff single but ringing up former Athletic Josh Willingham looking to end the game.
Kazmir (13-4) wound up with the victory despite allowing his most runs since June 24, when the Mets got to him for seven.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir sailed through six scoreless innings in just 61 pitches. Shockingly, he was knocked from the game with two outs in the seventh and wound up charged with five runs.
Kazmir allowed a single and walk to open the inning, then Trevor Plouffe singled home a run. After Kennys Vargas struck out, Oswaldo Arcia singled to center to score another, and two batters later Chris Parmelee hit a two-run double down the left-field line nad Kazmir was gone. Ryan Cook entered and allowed Eduardo Nunez’s run-scoring double to make it 6-5.
Until the seventh, Kazmir had picked up right where Jon Lester had left off from the previous night’s shutout. He worked efficiently, threw strikes and got his defense involved behind him. Kazmir has been tagged for nine runs over his past two starts, but at least in this one he came away with a ‘W.’
The A’s relief corps has set a new Oakland record with 28 2/3 scoreless innings (though Cook was on the hill for Nunez’s double. Doolittle’s 18th save set a record for saves by an Oakland lefty.
At the plate
After being held to three runs or less in five straight games, the A’s broke through with the kind of offensive game manager Bob Melvin has been looking for. Kyle Gibson (10-9) kept them off the scoreboard through four innings, but the A’s knocked him around during a four-run fifth.
Two walks and a bunt single from Sam Fuld loaded the bases, and then leadoff man Coco Crisp came through with his biggest at-bat since returning from his neck injury. He split the gap in right-center with a triple that cleared the bases, then he came home on a passed ball by Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki for a 4-0 A’s lead.
In the sixth, Eric Sogard continued his recent hot streak with a two-run double to right-center. He’s hitting .333 (13-for-39) since the All-Star break.
Friday’s game marked the first time since July 27 that the A’s scored multiple runs in more than one inning.
In the field
Josh Donaldson started one of the prettiest around-the-horn double plays you’ll see. He made a diving backhanded stop of Kurt Suzuki’s shot down the third-base line, and unloaded a strong throw to second. Stephen Vogt capped the play by scooping Eric Sogard’s throw to first.
It’s easy for the defense to stay engaged with the way Lester and Kazmir (through six innings at least) have pitched on back-to-back nights.
A crowd of 20,196 was on hand.
The Twins send right-hander Trevor May to the hill Saturday in his big league debut. Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.09) goes for the A’s in the 6:05 p.m. game.