OAKLAND — Scott Kazmir faced the minimum through six innings before running into trouble, Coco Crisp hit a bases-loaded triple, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Friday night for their 11th straight win in the series.
Oakland owns its longest unbeaten run against the Twins, whose last victory came at Target Field on Sept. 10, 2013. The A’s are 5-0 this year.
Kazmir (13-4) tossed just eight balls among his first 42 pitches through four perfect innings before Kennys Vargas broke up the bid with a single off shortstop Jed Lowrie’s glove. Yet the A’s turned a spectacular double play on a grounder by Kurt Suzuki to third two batters later.
Kazmir was dominant deep into the game five days after being handed his first loss in six starts and allowing a season-high 10 hits in a Sunday loss to Kansas City.
He followed fellow southpaw Jon Lester’s three-hit gem in a 3-0 win Thursday with his own impressive outing — until the Twins made it interesting.
Trevor Plouffe hit an RBI single in the seventh as Minnesota ended a 19-inning scoreless streak and avoided being shut out in consecutive games for the first time this season. Oswaldo Arcia singled in a run and Chris Parmelee’s two-run double chased Kazmir. Ryan Cook entered and immediately gave up Eduardo Nunez’s RBI double.
Sean Doolittle retired former A’s slugger Josh Willingham on a called third strike to end it for his 18th save in 21 opportunities. The A’s bullpen set an Oakland record with 28 2-3 scoreless innings. The old mark of 27 2-3 was set in June 1998.
Kyle Gibson (10-9) allowed six runs — five earned — and five hits, struck out three and walked a season-high five in five-plus innings while facing the A’s for the first time. He dropped to 4-1 in six starts against the AL West this season.
Gibson loaded the bases on two walks and a single with no outs in the fifth when Crisp tripled to the wall in right-center. Eric Sogard nearly caught Sam Fuld on the play, crossing home plate a couple of steps later. Sogard doubled in two runs the next inning.