MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins extended their winning streak to five games, as they erased an early four-run deficit with Torii Hunter coming through with a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning in an 8-7 win over the A's on Monday night at Target Field.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes gave up a grand slam to Stephen Vogt just five batters into the game, but settled down from there. After the Twins rallied with four runs in the second to tie it, Hughes gave up a go-ahead run on a solo shot to Mark Canha in the sixth.
"When you're feeling good about your club offensively, the message is just to stay with the game regardless of what the circumstances are," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Putting up those zeros like [Hughes] did, we responded rather quickly to get to even, and then we had to hang on."
Hughes still picked up his first win of the year, as he outpitched A's right-hander Jesse Hahn, who surrendered six runs on 10 hits over five-plus innings. Hahn exited with two runners in scoring position and nobody out in the sixth for reliever R.J. Alvarez. Jordan Schafer tied the game on an RBI infield single that Alvarez couldn't handle before Hunter connected on a three-run blast to left to give the Twins a three-run lead they wouldn't relinquish despite a late rally from the A's, who left the tying runner at second base in the ninth after a two-out RBI double from Vogt.
"That pitch I threw Torii honestly couldn't have been any better," said Alvarez. "I mean, right where you want it, low and in. I went back and looked and it was pretty much perfect. He just beat me. He might have been expecting it to come in or something. I don't even know how he kept it fair, but he did a good job, and he beat me on that one."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The force is strong with Hunter: With the Twins celebrating Star Wars night at Target Field, Hunter used the force in the sixth inning with a go-ahead three-run homer off Alvarez. It was the third homer of the year for Hunter and came in a key situation with two outs, leading to the 39-year-old Hunter flipping his bat in excitement.
"I think the Oakland A's brought out his 'Bash [Brothers] imitation," Molitor said. "But I think he's the only guy old enough to remember that." More >
No relief in sight: The A's bullpen continues to struggle. On this night, it was Alvarez who served up the game-winning runs, allowing Hunter's go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth. Alvarez inherited a sticky situation, entering with runners on second and third with none out. His inability to snag an RBI tapper off the bat of Schafer proved costly, as Hunter's long ball came two outs later. Oakland's bullpen has allowed at least two runs in 12 of the club's last 18 games.
"Exactly what I want in that situation," said Alvarez. "If I'm just a foot further to the right I've got it. He's probably not going to go home and I'm going to get him at first. Difficult for sure." More >
Twins tie it with four-run second: After Vogt's grand slam in the first, the Twins quickly bounced back to tie the game with four runs of their own in the second. The Twins had five straight hits, including an RBI bloop double from Schafer and an RBI infield single from Danny Santana before Brian Dozier tied the game with a two-run double.
Vogt stays hot: Vogt picked up right where he left off, hitting yet another home run -- his first career grand slam -- in the first inning, his third consecutive at-bat ending in a home run dating back to Sunday. The A's catcher, who leads the club with seven home runs and 24 RBIs, also singled in the third and notched an RBI double in the ninth, upping his season average to .372.
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Santana broke a streak of 97 straight plate appearances without a walk to open the year by loading the bases with a walk in the eighth. It was the longest such streak in the Majors, and now his teammate, Eduardo Escobar, is the current leader with 66 plate appearances without a walk.
With Brett Lawrie at second base and two outs in the eighth, Billy Burns lifted a shallow line drive to right-center field and Schafer made a diving attempt at it. Schafer thought he caught it to save a run and end the inning, but first-base umpire Todd Tichenor ruled it wasn't a catch. But after a review, the call was overturned to end the inning and save a run for the Twins. More >
"I don't want to be Tommy Lasorda-ish too much. But it was one of those moments. It hasn't been real smooth for that guy, but I saw him today working on his swing, his bunting and jumps on the bases, so today he got rewarded for all those areas." -- Molitor, on hugging Schafer, who also went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, after his catch to end the eighth.
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's will have right-hander Jesse Chavez on the mound for Tuesday's 5:10 p.m PT matchup with the Twins at Target Field. Chavez began the year in the bullpen, firing 6 2/3 scoreless innings, before moving to the rotation. He has compiled a 4.09 ERA in his first two starts.
Twins: Right-hander Trevor May will take the mound for the Twins in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. After a rocky showing in his season debut, May has posted a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings over his last three starts.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.