Twins lock down A's in back-and-forth battle

Twins lock down A's in back-and-forth battle

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins finished their 11-game homestand on a high note, as Eduardo Escobar and Eddie Rosario each had two RBIs in a 6-5 win over the A's on Thursday afternoon at Target Field.

Minnesota finished its homestand with an 8-3 record after taking three of four from Oakland. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco scuffled through five innings, giving up four runs on five hits, but he still picked up the win with the offense and bullpen picking up the slack. Escobar had the go-ahead hit with a bases-loaded two-run single in the fifth off reliever Dan Otero.

"It was a good homestand for us," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's just one of those things where you have to keep pushing forward. That's kind of the motto. Good, bad, every day you have to come out and try to play the best we can, and hopefully win as many games as we can."

A's left-hander Drew Pomeranz also struggled, lasting just 4 1/3 innings and giving up six runs (four earned) on three hits and five walks. The five walks came back to hurt him, as they led to three runs.

"Instead of just going after guys and throwing strikes, I pretty much beat myself out there," said Pomeranz. "You give up three hits and six runs, that should never happen."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escobar and Rosario stay hot: Escobar had five RBIs in Wednesday's 13-0 win, and he followed it up with his go-ahead two-run single in the fifth inning. He also drew his first walk of the season as part of a three-run second for the Twins. Rosario, who homered on the first pitch of his big league career Wednesday, had a sacrifice fly in the second and a two-out RBI single in the fourth.

Rosario's run-scoring single

Mistakes mounting: The A's made two more costly miscues Thursday, bringing their season error total to a Major League-leading 27. In the second inning, second baseman Brett Lawrie threw wide of first base on a double-play attempt that allowed an extra run to score. In the fourth, shortstop Eric Sogard misplayed what would have been an inning-ending groundout, and Rosario followed with a two-out RBI single.

Two runs score on error

"We should be better defensively," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We have to continue to work to be better defensively, because it's cost us games." More >

Bullpen picks up Nolasco: Nolasco was making just his third start after missing a month with elbow inflammation, but he still hasn't gotten on track. He exited after five innings, but relievers Michael Tonkin, Aaron Thompson, Blaine Boyer and Glen Perkins combined to preserve the lead. Tonkin gave up a solo shot to Ike Davis to lead off the sixth, but the bullpen did the job the rest of the way, including Perkins getting a rare four-out save.

Perkins closes out the 9th

"I just tried to figure out a way to keep the team in there, and the boys picked it up today," Nolasco said. "The offense and the bullpen came in and [I] got lucky enough to get a win."

Rodriguez provides bright spot: A beleaguered A's bullpen got two scoreless innings from its newest member, Fernando Rodriguez. The right-hander, selected from Triple-A Nashville just hours before game time, struck out four in that span, facing just one over the minimum in his season debut. More >

QUOTABLE
"It's early, but it's a nice trend. We've tried to make that a point. When you try to change the fortunes of how things have been going, it starts with playing better in your home park." -- Molitor, on the Twins, who have the best home record in the American League at 12-5

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With the win, the Twins improved to 16-13 on the year to be at least three games above .500 for the first time since the last game of the 2010 season. More >

REPLAY REVIEW
With nobody out in the seventh, A's center fielder Billy Burns reached first on what was originally ruled a throwing error from shortstop Danny Santana, but the Twins successfully challenged the play, as first baseman Kennys Vargas tagged Burns before he got to first. It overturned first-base umpire Tim Timmons' call and Molitor improved to 5-1 in challenges.

Safe call overturned in 7th

WHAT'S NEXT
A's: The A's will conclude their 10-game road trip in Seattle, where they will play a three-game series against the Mariners beginning Friday. Right-hander Sonny Gray, who is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA, will start the series opener. First pitch at Safeco Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.

Twins: After an 11-game homestand, the Twins hit the road for a six-game trip through Cleveland and Detroit. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey is set to start Friday night in the first game of a three-game set at Progressive Field. Pelfrey is coming off a rough start, but he is still 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA on the year.

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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.