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A's increase division lead, down Twins

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics added to their AL West lead with another lopsided win over the Minnesota Twins in advance of a critical set against the Texas Rangers.

A.J. Griffin was stellar over seven innings and the Oakland bats cooled off, only slightly, in Thursday's series-clinching 8-2 triumph at Target Field.

Griffin (14-9) won his fourth straight start after holding the Twins to two hits, one a solo homer by Oswaldo Arcia that put Minnesota on the board in the seventh. The Oakland right-hander struck out six of the first nine batters he faced and finished with eight punchouts to only one walk.

Coming off an 18-3 rout on Wednesday, Oakland got a two-run homer from Josh Reddick. Reddick added a sacrifice fly, and Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run triple to highlight a four-run third inning for the Athletics, who will carry a 3 1/2 game lead in the division standings over the Rangers into this weekend's showdown at Arlington.

Scott Diamond's return to the majors got off to a promising start, as the Minnesota starting pitcher retired seven in a row to begin his outing. However, Diamond (5-11), making his first start for the Twins since Aug. 1, ran into trouble in the third and failed to complete five frames.

The left-hander allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.

09/12 16:11:42 ET