MINNEAPOLIS -- After being shut down offensively through six innings, the A's broke out for three runs in the seventh, keyed by a go-ahead two-run single from Coco Crisp, in a 3-1 win over the Twins on Independence Day at Target Field.
Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco cruised through six scoreless frames, but he ran into trouble in the seventh when Danny Valencia doubled to lead off the frame. The A's were helped by an overturned call on the next play, as Valencia was initially called out at third trying to advance on a grounder to shortstop, but after a challenge, he was ruled safe. Nolasco stayed in to face Stephen Vogt, but gave up a game-tying RBI bloop single to left.
Lefty reliever Taylor Rogers replaced Nolasco and nearly got out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs, but he gave up the go-ahead two-run single up the middle to Crisp. The runs were charged to Nolasco, who picked up his first quality start since June 18 but was stuck with the loss.
"We've seen him get big hits for us many times, so it's not surprising," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Crisp, who is batting .370 during an 11-game hitting streak. "He's playing great right now."
The late rally made a winner out of A's right-hander Kendall Graveman, who went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and four walks. The lone run for Minnesota came on an RBI groundout from Max Kepler with the bases loaded in the fourth.
"Not enough offense, but the pitching was good enough," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a disappointing loss."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Overturned: The A's won a critical challenge in the seventh inning that set up the first run of a three-run inning. After doubling to snap an 0-for-17 streak, Valencia was on the move from second base when Khris Davis sent a grounder to Eduardo Nunez, and he was initially ruled out on the tag at third. A replay review reversed the call, and Valencia scored on Vogt's ensuing single. Moreover, the extra out paved the way for Crisp's two-out, go-ahead base hit that plated two runs.
"It looked, from our angle, that he was safe," Melvin said. "The throw was a little high, looked like it was late down and he kind of slid around it. He was trying to be aggressive, get on third with less than two outs."
Dozier turns nifty double play: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made a sensational play in the first when Jed Lowrie hit a hard grounder up the middle, but Dozier was able to snare it with a diving stop. He made a glove flip to Nunez, who was able to turn two and help Nolasco avoid getting into an early hole.
"The one in the first was huge," Nolasco said. "I thought it was going to get through, but he made a nice play. The turnout was nice. I was just trying to keep my sinker down to get groundballs. We turned some pretty good double plays there."
What a relief: A's right-hander Ryan Dull worked his magic yet again in the seventh inning, entering in relief of Graveman with two on and two out and stranding both runners to improve to a perfect 36-for-36 in inherited runners stranded. According to Elias, the 36 inherited runners without one scoring are the most to start a season in Major League history since at least 1961 when the Expansion Era began. Opponents are 1-for-47 with runners in scoring position against All-Star hopeful Dull this season.
"You know he's going to locate, you know he's going to hit the mitt, you know he's going to miss in good spots, you know there's going to be soft contact if they make contact, and just the way it's been going, a lot of times he can get a punch-out whenever he needs to," Graveman said. "It's fun to watch." More >
Twins can't cash in: Minnesota had trouble with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-8 to leave seven runners on base. The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but could only score one run with Kepler beating out a potential double-play ball hit to second. Eddie Rosario couldn't come through with two outs, as he grounded out to first to end the inning. Joe Mauer also doubled to lead off the sixth, but was stranded there after Miguel Sano, Dozier and Kennys Vargas all grounded out. They also had first and third with two outs in the ninth, but A's closer Ryan Madson was able to get Danny Santana to fly out to center to end the game.
"We didn't have a lot of opportunities there, but we felt like one [run] wasn't going to be enough through nine," Molitor said. "We couldn't find a way to add on." More >
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Left-hander Sean Manaea, who tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Giants in his return from the disabled list last week, gets the start in Tuesday's 5:10 p.m. PT matchup with the Twins at Target Field. Manaea beat the Twins at home on June 1, allowing one run in six innings.
Twins: Lefty Tommy Milone (0-2, 6.23 ERA) is set to start for the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT. Milone has struggled in his two starts since getting called back up from Triple-A Rochester, as he's allowed a combined six runs in seven innings.