Twins can't convert hits into runs in loss to A's

Twins can't convert hits into runs in loss to A's

Twins can't convert hits into runs in loss to A's
MINNEAPOLIS -- After locking down a potent Rangers lineup with seven shutout innings in his previous start, Cole De Vries seemed likely to control a much less threatening A's order on Saturday.

But that wasn't the case. De Vries surrendered three home runs and Minnesota struggled to score despite producing 14 hits, resulting in a 9-3 loss to Oakland in front of a sellout crowd of 39,084 at Target Field.

De Vries retired the first two batters of the game before surrendering four runs, all with two outs. Yoenis Cespedes drove in Josh Reddick with a double and Chris Carter hammered a three-run homer to left-center, putting Minnesota in an early 4-0 hole.

"I just didn't feel very good out there tonight," De Vries said. "I felt real weak for whatever reason. For the first inning or two I just felt overly hot. So I know that my ball was up the whole night. It was one of those times where I just went out there and tried to give the team as many innings as I could so our bullpen didn't get killed."

Cespedes troubled De Vries again in the third, hitting a two-run homer after Reddick singled. De Vries gave up a third home run in the fifth to Seth Smith, a solo shot.

The right-hander hadn't given up more than one homer in a game since his first start on May 24, when the White Sox also hit three off of him. This was also his first defeat since then.

De Vries had allowed a total of seven runs over his last four appearances altogether.

"Everything he threw was up," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Even the pitches they were swinging through were belt-high across the plate. He was just never really able to make any adjustments. We got as many as we could out of him."

The first four Twins' batters in the sixth all reached base, but Minnesota only scored one run in the inning. Joe Mauer led off with a walk, and the next three batters all recorded singles -- including Justin Morneau, who drove in Mauer. Ryan Doumit grounded into a fielder's choice that forced out a runner at home, and then Brian Dozier grounded into an inning-ending double play. Morneau and Trevor Plouffe extended each of their hit streaks to 12 games in back-to-back at-bats.

Baserunning mishaps twice cost Minnesota a man on second base. Doumit was thrown out in the second while trying to stretch his single into a double. The throw to first on Denard Span's infield single in the third skipped into right field, but Moss's throw beat Span to second.

"Silly outs on the basepaths a few times," Gardenhire said. "Span's was aggressive. The guy made a hell of a throw on him, but I think if he [Span] would have picked up his head, he probably went a little far down the first-base line.

"[Doumit] -- you just have to round the bag and pick up the ball ... It's aggressive, but there's also a fine line between aggressive and good."

Josh Willingham hit a solo shot in the eighth for his 22nd home run of the season, and his third in two days. Five of his homers this season have come in five games against his former team. Willingham's six July home runs entered Saturday tied with Colorado's Tyler Colvin for the most in baseball this month.

Dozier's fourth home run of the season -- a solo shot off Tommy Milone -- put the Twins on the board in the third.

Anthony Swarzak allowed a fourth Oakland homer to Brandon Moss in the sixth. The A's four home runs tied a season-high and they have won eight of their last nine.

"It's really nice," Smith said of the team's power. "You got the guys up front that can set the table, and then from Reddick down on the lineup, it's pretty deep. We feel anybody has a chance to go deep at any time."

Minnesota's defeat was just its third this year in games they registered 14 or more hits. All nine starters each tallied at least one hit.

"Hopefully we start clicking together," Ben Revere said. "Hitting when we're pitching, pitching when we're hitting ... It's been up and down. The times when both will click -- that's when we'll be rolling."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.