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Twins lose ground in Central as Athletics win series

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Coco Crisp keyed Oakland's offense with two hits and three stolen bases, leading Brandon McCarthy and the Athletics past the Minnesota Twins 7-3 Sunday.

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Ryan Sweeney drove in two runs and McCarthy struck out a career-high nine in six effective innings as the A's won their fifth in seven games.

Jim Thome had three hits, including his 597th home run, for the Twins, who have lost three of four. Joe Mauer added three hits and drove in a run while Danny Valencia had two hits and an RBI.

McCarthy (4-5) allowed three runs and eight hits. He did not walk a batter and won his third straight decision following a five-game losing streak.

Craig Breslow, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey each pitched a scoreless inning to finish it.

Twins starter Carl Pavano (6-8) lasted four innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits. He is winless in four starts since the All-Star break.

The day began with Oakland players learning that popular reliever Brad Ziegler had been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The A's scored six runs on seven consecutive hits in the third to erase a 3-0 deficit. Sweeney's two-run double highlighted the outburst.

Pavano got Scott Sizemore on a grounder to start the inning before Jemile Weeks doubled to spark the rally. Crisp, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson and Cliff Pennington, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games, also drove in runs.

Ben Revere tripled on the second pitch of the game and scored when Mauer grounded out. Valencia added an RBI single to give the Twins a 2-0 edge in the first.

McCarthy kept the damage to a minimum despite allowing five hits in the inning as the Twins left the bases loaded.

With two outs in the third, Thome drilled McCarthy's pitch to left-center for his 597th career home run. With his 1,652nd RBI, he matched Tony Perez for 27th on the career list.

Thome has put together three consecutive multihit games for the first time since Aug. 28-30, 2007, at Texas. The last time he recorded more than three hits in a game was July 8, 2008.

Thome extended his hitting streak to seven games and is batting .480 (12 for 25) during that span.

NOTES: A's OF David DeJesus (sore right thumb) entered as a defensive replacement when Sweeney was thrown out of the game (his first career ejection) by plate umpire Dan Bellino in the seventh. ... Thome has hit 31 home runs against the A's. ... LHP Jordan Norberto will join the A's in Seattle on Monday. ... The A's set an Oakland record with their 16th straight game with at least eight hits. ... The A's entered as the only team in the majors without a win against Pavano. ... The A's had at least three steals of third for the first time since April 17, 1993, at Milwaukee.

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