Manaea strikes out 8 as A's sweep Twins

Manaea strikes out 8 as A's sweep Twins

OAKLAND -- Danny Valencia went 3-for-4 and Sean Manaea struck out a career-high eight batters as the A's swept the Twins in a 5-1 win on Wednesday at the Coliseum, extending their winning streak to five games.

"We have a few guys who are swinging the bat well," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The bullpens pitched pretty well. The defense has been much better this homestand. Put all that together and typically you run off a few wins."

Oakland roughed up Twins starter Pat Dean, who allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings. Valencia had three of those hits, including two doubles, concluding a white-hot series that pushed his season average to .346. Billy Burns and Billy Butler added RBI singles, Jake Smolinski hit his first home run of the season in the fourth, and Coco Crisp tacked on an RBI single in the sixth.

Smolinski's solo homer

Minnesota pushed a run across in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Eduardo Escobar, but the Twins stranded two baserunners to end the inning. The Twins scored seven runs in the series after scoring a combined 18 runs in a three-game sweep over the Mariners over the weekend.

"We were playing really good baseball until we got here," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "We got swept these three games, but coming into Oakland, we were feeling good about things. We just left a lot of people on base. We didn't get the hits we were getting in Seattle."

Oakland's winning streak comes after it had lost three straight and seven of its previous eight games, falling to a season-low nine games below .500.

Manaea mows 'em down: The rookie southpaw looked a bit unsteady early, allowing five runners to reach base over the first three innings. But he recovered, at one point retiring eight straight between the third and fifth, before running into trouble in the sixth. Manaea picked up his second win of the season and utilized his changeup often en route to setting a career high in strikeouts.

"I gathered myself and told myself, 'Bear down and get this guy. You're not going to let this guy score,'" Manaea said. "That was the mindset I had, and it worked." More >

Manaea's tough pitching

Escobar gets Twins on the board: Minnesota loaded the bases against Manaea with nobody out in the sixth, but it could only muster one run with a sacrifice fly from Escobar. Max Kepler and Juan Centeno both struck out to end the scoring threat.

"It was disappointing," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You're hoping to keep the line moving and get yourself back into the game. We got the sac fly, but then we couldn't finish it off getting that hit." More >

Escobar's sac fly

Valencia stays hot: Do you think Valencia enjoys playing the Twins? He said following Tuesday's game that he feels "a little bit more" when facing Minnesota, and it continued Wednesday. The 31-year-old went 6-for-10 against his former team, belting his eighth homer of the year on Tuesday and finishing with three doubles in the series. He is hitting .750 (12-for-16) over his last five games and .378 (31-for-82) over his last 22 games.

Dean doesn't get it done: Dean fared well in his first two career starts, posting a combined 2.77 ERA against the Blue Jays and Mariners, but he couldn't build on those outings against the A's. Dean allowed at least one hit in all five innings he pitched and gave up at least one run in four of those five frames. It was his first loss as a starter. His other loss came in relief against the Tigers on May 16.

"The fastball was up a little too much," Dean said. "I didn't execute as much as I know I should've."

Park's heads up play

"Yeah, speed kills," -- Melvin said with a smile, talking about Butler's decision to take third on a wild pitch. Butler barely beat the tag and later scored in the inning.

The A's have won 16 of their last 19 games against the Twins at the Coliseum.

Twins: They head to the Twin Cities for a 10-game homestand beginning at 7:10 p.m. CT on Thursday against the Rays. Right-hander Kyle Gibson is set to come off the 15-day disabled list (right shoulder strain) to make his first start since April 22. Gibson was 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA before sustaining the injury.

A's: Oakland is off on Thursday and travels to Houston for a three-game series at Minute Maid Park with the Astros beginning at 5:10 p.m. PT on Friday. Jesse Hahn (2-2, 4.15 ERA) opens the series for the A's fresh off a win his last time out against the Tigers.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for based in Oakland and covered the A's on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.