for this game

Ellis homers early as Athletics cool off Twins

Aug 19, 2008 - 5:17 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The way things have gone for the Oakland A's recently, it should come as little surprise that even out of victory came a loss.

Oakland improved to just 6-23 since the All-Star break with a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday at the Metrodome, but lost starter Justin Duchscherer - one of few bright spots this season - to a hip injury in the third inning.

Mark Ellis' leadoff home run and Kurt Suzuki's two-RBI single in the fourth inning provided enough offense and Kirk Saarloos pitched 3 2/3 innings of solid relief after being called up from Class AAA Sacramento earlier in the day to help the A's win for just the third time in their last 19 road games.

"Saarloos did a great job," Duchscherer said. "I'm glad we got the win, but from my end its frustrating."

The Twins had their four-game winning streak snapping and lost for just the fifth time in their last 22 home games. Starter Nick Blackburn (9-7) did his part, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in eight innings. He gave a recently overworked bullpen a much-needed reprieve after it logged 16 innings in Minnesota's previous five games.

But a few misplays and two errors behind him didn't make things easy, and an offense that couldn't solve Duchsherer or Saarloos ran out of chances against Oakland's bullpen.

Duchsherer, who appeared in just 17 game last season before having season-ending surgery on his right hip on July 11, was 10-8 with a 2.59 ERA entering Monday's game. But he had lost a career-high tying three straight contests, and said after Monday's game that he began feeling a twinge in his hip during his previous start and was "sore and tight" in between starts.

Saarloos allowed three hits in 2 2/3 innings, but called Suzuki to the mound with a 2-1 count on Joe Mauer in the third frame and left after telling manager Bob Geren and head trainer Steve Sayles, "No way. I can't pitch through this. I can't throw.

Duchsherer will fly back to Oakland on Tuesday to meet with team orthopedist Dr. John Frazier.

"From the day I had surgery, everything has gone perfect until my last start when I started to feel it a little bit," Duchscherer said. "Which is why I'm concerned, but I'm not overly concerned because it happened that fast. so to me its probably just an inflammatory thing that we've got to get calmed down."

Saarloos (1-0) filled in admirably in his first action since April 17, ultimately earning his first win since July 8 against Arizona while with Cincinnati.

"With 'Duke' on the mound, the bullpen usually has a pretty low key day," Saarloos said. "You've just got to be ready and they needed innings out of me and I was able to provide it."

Brad Ziegler allowed a run in two innings for his third save.

Things started positive for the A's when Ellis hit the first pitch of the game for his first leadoff homer since August 24, 2005 at Detroit. Frank Thomas walked and Jack Cust hit a double just out of Delmon Young's reach in left field, setting up Suzuki's two-RBI single. He now has four RBI in his last four games after going 16 straight without driving in a run.

Both tallies were needed, as Minnesota rallied against Huston Street and Ziegler in the eighth inning. After stranding two runners in scoring position in the seventh, the Twins led off the eighth with Denard Span's single, and Mauer tagged Ziegler for a triple off the wall in left field two batters later. Mauer was awarded home when Eric Patterson's throw to third base hit Mauer and skidded into Minnesota's dugout.

Justin Morneau followed with a single, but Jason Kubel grounded into a double play to end the threat.

Ziegler allowed a two-out walk in the ninth, but struck out Brendan Harris to seal the victory.

"We feel pretty good with ourselves," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not going to quit. We got back into it and with our ballclub you feel like you'll get a big hit and tie the ballgame up and go from there. We just couldn't come up with one. (Ziegler) made pitches after that and I think you can all see he's pretty nasty."



With Chicago's victory over Seattle, Minnesota fell to a game out of first place in the AL Central Division.

The A's won in Minnesota for the first time since September 13, 2006 and are now 2-9 in their last 11 games at the Metrodome.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 1
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 10 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER, KIRK SAARLOOS (3RD), ALAN EMBREE (7TH),
    HUSTON STREET (7TH), BRAD ZIEGLER (8TH) AND KURT SUZUKI
    MIN - NICK BLACKBURN, JESSE CRAIN (9TH), C

    Aug 18 10:52 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY JOE MAUER SCORED DENARD SPAN. ERROR BY ERIC
    PATTERSON ALLOWED JOE MAUER TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.304, 0-FOR-3)

    Athletics 3, Twins 2  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 18 10:21 PM
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    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics 3, Twins 2  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 18 10:21 PM
  • 57
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    RUWTbot Added 42 roots

    Athletics 3, Twins 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 18 9:22 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KURT SUZUKI SCORED FRANK THOMAS AND JACK CUST.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K SUZUKI ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: C GONZALEZ (.261, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 3, Twins 0  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 18 9:09 PM
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    McTool Added 10 roots

    Athletics 1, Twins 0  Top 2, 0 OutsAug 18 8:22 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER
    MIN - NICK BLACKBURN

    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: D SPAN (.315, 2 HR, 20 RBI)
    N PUNTO (.271, 2 HR, 23 RBI)
    J MAUER (.321, 8 HR, 59 RBI

    Athletics 1, Twins 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 18 8:14 PM
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    houstonchron Added 5 roots

    Athletics vs. TwinsAug 18 4:19 PM