A's sweep Twins to win AL West title
OAKLAND, Calif. — Well before the end of their game against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, the Oakland A’s knew that they were the American League West champions.
The Texas Rangers’ loss earlier in the day gave the A’s the division title for the second season in a row, but by that time, Oakland already had taken firm control of its own game, scoring six runs with two outs in the second inning en route to an 11-7 win over Minnesota.
Last year, the A’s won the West on the last day of the season. They did it with a week to go this time around, giving the team plenty of time to set up its pitching for the postseason and to rest key players as needed.
In the third inning of the A’s game, the Kansas City Royals beat the Rangers 4-0 in 10 innings on Justin Maxwell’s two-out grand slam.
Just before that, the A’s put up a half-dozen runs on Twins starter Cole De Vries, who retired the first two hitters in the second before walking three in a row and giving up a two-run single to No. 9 hitter Eric Sogard. Coco Crisp followed with a three-run homer to right, and then Jed Lowrie singled and scored on a double by Josh Donaldson.
Daric Barton added a solo homer in the third and Lowrie a solo shot in the fourth; both came off Minnesota reliever Shairon Maris. Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth, Brandon Moss had one in the sixth, and Crisp knocked a two-out RBI single in the seventh.
Oakland starter Sonny Gray (4-3) threw five innings of four-run ball. De Vries (0-1) was charged with six runs in two innings.
The A’s still would like to continue their hot streak in order to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Boston holds the league’s best record, at 95-62. Oakland is 93-63 with six games remaining. Detroit is 91-65.
The Twins have lost six of their past seven games, and they dropped each of their final six games against the A’s.
NOTES: Twins C Joe Mauer (concussion) had a full workout at Target Field, and he has been symptom free for several days. Mauer potentially could appear in one of Minnesota’s final games this week.
Athletics 9, Twins 1
OAKLAND, Calif. — Alberto Callaspo belted a two-run homer among his four hits and Kurt Suzuki added another two-run blast as Oakland belted the Minnesota Twins 9-1 Saturday.
Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs while Jed Lowrie collected three hits for the Athletics.
The high-octane offense was more than enough for Jarrod Parker (12-7), who rebounded after suffering his first loss in nearly four months during his last trip to the mound. The 24-year-old allowed one run on four hits in six innings.
A 2-hour, 7-minute rain delay did little to slow down Oakland, which opened the scoring on Callaspo’s RBI single in the first inning before exploding in the second. Chris Young gave the Athletics a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly before Cespedes doubled the advantage with a two-run single to left field.
Callaspo capped the five-run frame by depositing a 2-1 fastball from Pedro Hernandez (3-2) over the wall in left for his ninth homer — and second in three games.
Josmil Pinto homered and joined Brian Dozier with two hits apiece for the Twins. Hernandez was blasted out of the gate, permitting six runs and eight hits in two innings.