Ever since the Oakland Athletics arrived at Target Field for a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins, I thought to myself “How am I going to be an optimist about this?” By the way, I’m not a pessimist, just uncertain about the A’s future.
You would think the Oakland Athletics would at least try to beat the worst team in baseball, but they were lifeless in today’s finale. Eduardo Nunez stole his 20th base of the season, becoming the first Twins player to grab 20 prior to the All-Star break since 2008. After four scoreless innings, Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Joe Mauer‘s RBI double that brought home Robbie Grossman.
Let’s fast forward to the seventh inning. The Twins benefited from bases-loaded walks. Max Kepler walked to score Mauer for a 2-0 lead. Then, Eddie Rosario made it 3-0 Twins with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Brian Dozier. Minnesota continues to hold the worst record in baseball, but they put the game out of reach for the A’s today.
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Nunez drove Danny Santana in with a sacrifice fly to center. The Twins extended their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the eighth. Santana had a complete game, becoming the first Twins pitcher to pitch a two-hit complete game shutout since Andrew Albers on Aug. 12, 2013. Also, this was Santana’s 15th complete game in his career and his first since June 6, 2012.
The Twins finished off two victories in 14 hours. The A’s were handed a 4-0 shutout loss by the Twins in a finale that they could’ve won to take control of the series. But the A’s will head to Minute Maid Park to take on the Houston Astros in a four-game series beginning Wednesday at 5:10 pm PT. Veteran pitchers Rich Hill and Doug Fister are expected to start for their teams.
All teams have their ups and downs, but it’s extremely clear the A’s tend to take one step forward and two steps back. In order to win games, the A’s need to score first, avoid blowing a lead and take advantage of scoring opportunities. They also need to play good defense to hold off the opposing team.