OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland Athletics are surging after struggling mightily at the start. The Minnesota Twins are reeling yet celebrating finally getting back on the diamond.
Matt Olson hit a grand slam, Mitch Moreland homered twice to back Sean Manaea's shutout, and Jesús Luzardo followed with his own Game 2 gem as Oakland swept a doubleheader against the depleted Twins, 7-0 and 1-0 on Tuesday to run their winning streak to 10 games.
“We're on a wave,” Luzardo said, quoting the A's latest winning catchphrase, “and we're just riding it.”
The nightcap featured a delay of nearly 25 minutes because of a light bank in left field that lost power. Luzardo stayed loose under the (limited) lights and the ballpark DJ played Simon & Garfunkel's “Sound of Silence” and Journey’s “When the Lights Go Down in the City.” Only part of the light bank eventually came back on.
“We got out of our way to not look at things like that, because we've got to look at what we need to do to win,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of the lights.
The left-handed Luzardo allowed two hits over 5 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked one.
Lou Trivino retired former A's star Josh Donaldson on a called third strike to end the sixth with the tying run on third following a wild pitch. Jake Diekman finished for his first save with two runners on, getting a great catch from Mark Canha at the warning track in left to finish it on a deep fly by Willians Astudillo.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t too dark for Mark to catch that ball right there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Although both games were only seven innings, the A’s earned shutouts in both ends of a doubleheader for the first time since Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter did so facing the Royals on Sept. 9, 1974. The Dodgers were the last to accomplish it in the majors, on Aug. 27 last year against the Giants.
In the opener, Moreland connected for a two-run homer in the second inning and a solo drive in the fourth off Matt Shoemaker (1-1).
Manaea (2-1) allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one over seven innings, throwing 95 pitches for his second career complete game and shutout — the lefty no-hit the Red Sox at home on April 21, 2018.
This outing was right up there with his best, and Manaea has become more comfortable with his distinct pitching style.
“As much as I want to be a guy throwing 100, that's not me,” Manaea said. “I got to utilize what I have and what I bring to the table. That's kind of freeing in a way, just accepting who I am as a pitcher. Just utilizing what I have, and what I have is pretty good.”
Luzardo (1-1) — the eighth lefty starter Minnesota has faced in 11 games — brilliantly followed Manaea, and the A's got Seth Brown's RBI single in the fourth off right-hander José Berríos (2-2).
“To be honest we don’t want to be in the position we are right now but tomorrow’s another day, we have another chance to play like a team,” Berríos said.
In Game 1, Olson made it 7-0 with his fourth-inning slam through a blustery wind.
“It really helps when guys are hitting bombs like that and getting on base and then hitting bombs just makes it even better," Manaea said. “It makes the game a little bit easier what that's going on.”
The A's own the longest winning streak in the majors this year, topping Boston, which won nine in a row from April 5-14. Oakland is 11-1 since starting the season 0-6.
Minnesota finally got back on the field following three postponements because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Twins' scheduled series opener in Oakland was delayed, forcing the doubleheader. Minnesota missed games Saturday and Sunday against the Angels in Anaheim.
The Twins have had at least four positive coronavirus tests in the past week — Andrelton Simmons, Kyle Garlick, Max Kepler and a team staff member.
The games drew 3,322 fans on a chilly Bay Area night.
Minnesota, which also spent pregame time Tuesday closely monitoring the Derek Chauvin verdict back home in the case of George Floyd’s killing last year, was eager to get back to playing baseball.
During this trying stretch, the Twins also dealt with the death of bench coach Mike Bell last month.
Baldelli called this “one of the most emotional periods of time that I’ve spent in the game, and I mean that in a pretty broad-spanning way.”
Twins: 1B Miguel Sanó dealt with a tight right hamstring from the first game and he was being evaluated. ... DH Nelson Cruz was sore from being hit by a pitch and also was scheduled to be examined. ... Kepler is out with COVID-19, Baldelli said before the doubleheader. Kepler and others remain quarantined in Anaheim hotel. LHP Caleb Thielbar is there and out as a close contact. Those with positive tests are experiencing only mild symptoms, according to Baldelli.
Athletics: Oakland reinstated LHP Reymin Guduan from the injured list and he was added as the 27th man for the doubleheader. ... OF Piscotty returned from the paternity list. The A's designated OF Ka’ai Tom for assignment. “We'd like to keep him obviously but at this time there just weren't very many at-bats for him,” Melvin said. ... LHP A.J. Puk has played catch but “hasn't felt great yet, he's felt some lingering stuff,” Melvin said. Puk is yet to throw off a mound as he works back from a strained biceps in his pitching arm. ... RHP Mike Fiers (right hip) was set to throw for the last time with the club's alternate site and if all goes well could be activated soon. ... OF/INF Chad Pinder, sidelined by a sprained left knee, is still working to add more baseball activities.
On Wednesday, RHP Kenta Maeda (1-1, 3.07) pitches for Minnesota and the A's counter with RHP Frankie Montas (2-1, 4.91).
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