American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, September 12th
(All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (84-61) at Minnesota Twins (63-61), 1:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - A.J. Griffin (13-9, 3.91)
Minnesota - Scott Diamond (5-10, 5.52)
(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics are starting to pull away in the
American League West. They will try to stretch their lead even further on
Thursday when they play the rubber match of a three-game set with the
Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
After losing Tuesday's opener, Oakland bounced back in a big way on Wednesday,
as Stephen Vogt singled and homered as part of a 10-run fourth inning which
propelled the Athletics to an 18-3 rout.
Jed Lowrie finished with four RBI, Vogt and Yoenis Cespedes each drove in
three runs, while Daric Barton had three hits and a pair of RBI in the
lopsided victory, the A's fourth in their last five games.
Josh Reddick also doubled in the fifth inning in his first at-bat since coming
off the disabled list to help the A's move three games in front of the Texas
Rangers in the division.
"I threw balls over the middle of the plate and they hit it," said Minnesota
loser Mike Pelfrey. "It was an awful night."
Sonny Gray (3-3) pitched well with the lead, striking out seven batters for
his third straight outing. Gray yielded two runs on four hits.
"All the way around, we didn't pitch very well," said Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire. "Pitching, just the whole package, they dominated us."
Hoping to deliver the same type of support this afternoon the A's turn to
righty A.J. Griffin, who has won his last three starts. Griffin beat the
Houston Astros on Friday, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in six
innings. He also matched a career-high with nine strikeouts and improved to
13-9 to go along with a 3.91 ERA.
Griffin beat the Twins the only other time he faced them.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will hand the ball to lefty Scott Diamond, who is back
with the team after being sent to Triple-A Rochester in early August. In six
starts at that level Diamond pitched to a 2.02 ERA.
With the Twins this season he was 5-10 with a 5.52 ERA.
"Confidence was the big thing when we sent him down, and he's definitely
confident right now," Gardenhire said. "He knew his pitches weren't finishing.
He had some success, and kind of took off from there. He pitched very well
down the stretch. At least we know he's got his confidence back, and that's
Oakland was 5-4 last season against the Twins.
09/12 10:25:42 ET