Willingham Homers Twice To Help Twins Play Spoiler For A’s
MINNEAPOLIS -- Josh Willingham hit two home runs, including a two-run shot in the eighth that put the Twins in front for good, to lead Minnesota past the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Tuesday night.
Oswaldo Arcia also homered for the Twins, who snapped Oakland’s three-game winning streak and prevented the A’s from stretching their two-game lead over Texas in the AL West. They also spoiled a solid outing by A’s starter Jarrod Parker, who tossed six strong innings and stretched his unbeaten streak to 19 starts.
Despite giving up homers to Willingham and Arcia, Parker appeared to be on the verge of earning his 12th win. But Arcia singled off reliever Sean Doolittle to lead off the eighth. Doolittle struck out Ryan Doumit before being pulled for Ryan Cook (6-4), and Willingham followed by launching a 2-0 pitch an estimated 439 feet into the middle deck for his second multi-homer game this season.
Anthony Swarzak (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the win on his 28th birthday, and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 38 chances.
Twins starter Liam Hendriks worked 5 1-3 innings and matched his career high with six strikeouts. He had a one-run lead for most of those innings thanks to Willingham’s second-inning solo shot. But Alberto Callaspo sent a 1-1 pitch 384 feet into the right-field seats after Hendriks hit Yoenis Cespedes to lead off the fifth and give the A’s a 2-1 lead.
Hendriks hit another batter, Brandon Moss, the next inning and Cespedes followed with a run-scoring single to put Oakland up 3-1.
Parker finally got into trouble in the sixth after Arcia led off with a monster homer to right. Three of Minnesota’s next four batters reached to load the bases for Pedro Florimon. But after a meeting on the mound, A’s manager Bob Melvin elected to leave Parker in the game, and the 24-year-old righty induced Florimon into a double play to end the threat.
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