June 17, 2024

Twins sweep A’s, win fifth straight game

The Twins are streaking again, but in a good way.

They swept a four-game series from the Oakland Athletics, including Sunday’s double-header, to make it five straight wins. They also are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have pulled within a half-game of the Royals and are 5.5 games back of the Guardians.

Game 2 on Sunday was a see-saw affair. Royce Lewis got things started with his seventh home run in 12 games, Oregon State man Trevor Larnach hit a three-run shot to help the Twins retake the lead and finally Jose Miranda delivered a solo blast in the eighth and the Twins prevailed 8-7. The club banged out 14 hits, including two more from Carlos Correa, who is hitting a sizzling .548 over the past week with 17 hits in 31 at bats.

Chris Paddack got the nod in Game 2 but didn’t last long after allowing five runs in two-plus innings. Louie Varland gave the Twins four-plus innings in relief but got into trouble as well. Finally, relievers Josh Staumont and Griffin Jax stepped up and pitched two-plus innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts. Staumont picked up the win and Jax the save, his sixth.

The Twins are back in action Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Pablo Lopez gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-Twins rookie Austin Martin had a full-meal-deal kind of day in Game 2. He went up and over the center field wall to rob a home run from the A’s, then promptly goofed on another hit in his direction for an error. But then he came right back and redeemed himself at the plate with two hits, including a double, in four trips to the plate with a run scored and RBI.

-The Twins last swept a four-game series from the A’s in 2007. I’m also reminded of 1973, a season in which the Twins were 14-4 versus an A’s team that would go on to win the World Series.

One of those wins was an 8-2 beatdown of the Athletics at the Met on July 27, 1973. The Twins scored seven runs in the first inning and rolled to victory. Catcher George Mitterwald powered the win with a three-run blast and Bert Blyleven struck out nine over nine innings with two runs allowed.

The Oakland Tribune made clear it was advantage Twins.

“I think if you go through the lineups,” George Mitterwald admitted, “the A’s have a better ball club than we do.

“But sometimes what’s on paper doesn’t always win.

“Mitterwald, at this moment, ranks as the leading authority on what it takes to defeat the A’s. He started out a seven-run first inning in Minnesota yesterday by hitting a homer with two men on and the Twins ended up beating Oakland, 8-2. That gave the Twins a sweep of the three-game series over the defending world champions, who have lost seven out of eight to Minnesota this season.

“Well,” said A’s manager Dick Williams, “we’ll go home and kick Texas four straight. We’re still in first place.”

Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.