for this game

Morneau ties it, Mauer wins it as Twins top A's

Jul 15, 2007 - 11:46 PM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Justin Morneau hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and Joe Mauer hit a walk-off single in the ninth as the Minnesota Twins completed a four-game series sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Nick Punto drove in two runs for the Twins (49-43), who completed their fifth series sweep this season - their first in a four-game set - and improved to a season-high six games over .500.

Minnesota, which climbed to 5 1/2 games behind the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers (53-36), will host a three-game series with the Tigers after a day off on Monday.

"It's feeling like last year at this time, coming up with big hits," Punto said, referring to the Twins' second-half surge to win the division in 2006. "Hopefully, we can get on some sort of roll like we did last year.

"We expect to make the playoffs. That's just how we are."

Trailing by a run with one out and nobody on in the eighth, Morneau blasted reliever Santiago Casilla's 3-2 pitch approximately 406 feet to left field to tie the game, 3-3. The home run made up for the six runners he left on base in his previous three at-bats.

One inning later, Luis Castillo tripled to lead off the frame against Joe Kennedy (2-8). Jason Bartlett then walked and took second on defensive indifference, setting up Mauer's ground ball single through the middle to win it.

Castillo's triple was his second in as many games, and the veteran with aching knees pumped his fist and shouted toward the Twins dugout after sliding in without a play.

"He'll look like he can't move, then he'll steal second," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When he has to turn it on, he turns it on. Then he gets up and acts like he has to come out again."

Oakland took the lead after three scoreless innings when Eric Chavez led off the fourth inning with his third homer in the last five games.

But A's starter Dan Haren gave the lead right back in the bottom half as Punto hit a one-out triple down the right-field line to score Mike Redmond and Jason Tyner, who had both singled.

Punto was stranded at third, however, the fifth of six Twins through six innings to be left in scoring position.

"He can always use his sinker or splitter to get a couple ground balls or a strikeout," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "That's why he's an All-Star pitcher."

Starter Boof Bonser kept Minnesota in the game, allowing only one baserunner besides Chavez as far as second base through six frames. Bonser struggled in the seventh, walking Mark Kotsay to start the inning and giving up a one-out single to Bobby Crosby, putting runners on the corners.

Reliever Matt Guerrier struck out Jason Kendall but gave up a two-run single to Travis Buck after Crosby stole second base on Kendall's strikeout. The runs were charged to Bonser.

Bonser, whose last win came on June 10, allowed three runs and five hits with six strikeouts and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. Three relievers combined to toss the final three innings, including Pat Neshek (4-1), who pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the win.

"I was able to locate fastballs and offspeed stuff," Bonser said. "I can't complain. I had a couple mistakes here and there, that's what hurt me."

It was the fourth straight solid start for the Twins, who got wins from all three of their starters in the first three games of the series.

"It's about getting better as you go, and (Bonser) is making strides," Gardenhire said. "Every starter has stepped up and given us a good performance. We can have some fun in the second half, if we pitch."

Haren allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings but failed to earn a win in consecutive starts for the first time since picking up no decisions on May 9 and 14.

Oakland (44-48) has lost a season-high seven straight games and is a season-worst four games below .500.

"I've never been part of a losing team and I don't want to be part of a losing team," Haren said. "No one wants to lose. But we obviously came in here and got our (tails) kicked for four games.

"We can go two ways - we can put our heads down and call it a season or we can fight back and try to get back in this thing. It's the time of year we have to turn things around, because time is running out."






  • 50
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    doug1016 Added 5 roots

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 10:58 PM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 3 6 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 4 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - DAN HAREN, SANTIAGO CASILLA (7TH), ALAN EMBREE (8TH), JOE
    KENNEDY (9TH) AND JASON KENDALL, KURT SUZUKI (9TH)
    MIN - BOOF BONSER, MATT GUERRIER (7TH), DENNYS RE

    Jul 15 5:17 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    FINAL SCORE: MINNESOTA 4, OAKLAND 3

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 5:17 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 25 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 5:17 PM
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    joestilwell Added 5 roots

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 4:54 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 60 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 4:54 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (25) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF SANTIAGO CASILLA.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3, MINNESOTA 3
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M REDMOND (.288, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 4:37 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TRAVIS BUCK SCORED MARK KOTSAY AND BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T BUCK ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: S STEWART (.307, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 4:14 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY NICK PUNTO SCORED MIKE REDMOND AND JASON TYNER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, N PUNTO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.308, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 3:26 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ERIC CHAVEZ (15) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF BOOF BONSER.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, MINNESOTA 0
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D JOHNSON (.259, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 15 3:10 PM
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    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 14 1:12 AM