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(Thursday, August 7)
Final Score: Oakland 3, Minnesota 0
Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester pitched a three-hit shutout, the fourth of his career, and the Oakland Athletics won the opener of a four-game series 3-0 over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Lester (12-7) tied a season high with 122 pitches in his second start for the A's. He was perfect through five innings, walked only two batters and struck out eight.
The left-hander is 2-0 since he was acquired along with outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and 6-0 in his last 10 starts.
A's manager Bob Melvin, who collected his 800th win, said his "heart was beating" leaving Lester in the game with 105 pitches going into the ninth.
"He's probably the only guy here I let go to 120 pitches. That was my limit. But that's why he's here," Melvin said.
Stephen Vogt hit a two-run homer for the MLB-leading A's, who have won three of their last four. They have beaten the Twins 10 straight times and in 15 of the last 17 meetings.
Yohan Pino (1-4) worked 5 2/3 innings for the Twins, who have lost two in a row after three straight wins. Pino allowed three runs on six hits and a walk.
Lester had five strikeouts in his five perfect innings before Kurt Suzuki, the former A's catcher, lined a single into left field leading off the sixth.
Chris Colabello followed with a base hit and Lester dodged what would have been a game-tying homer when Brian Dozier's two-out drive sailed just wide of the left-field pole.
Dozier walked, but Lester escaped the bases-loaded jam by retiring Trevor Plouffe on a grounder.
"Lester was the story tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was good. He was moving in and out. He had all his pitches working. We just couldn't score against him."
Oswaldo Arcia had Minnesota's other hit, a single in the seventh. Colabello walked in the eighth, but Danny Santana hit into an inning-ending double play.
Earlier, Alberto Callaspo drew a leadoff walk in the third inning -- the game's first baserunner -- and Vogt followed with a line-drive homer to right field, his sixth of the season.
The A's pushed their lead to 3-0 after Brandon Moss and Derek Norris hit consecutive doubles to start the fourth inning.
Lester threw 83 strikes. It was his first shutout since May 10, 2013, against Toronto. His other two shutouts came in 2008 and included a no-hitter against Kansas City.
08/08 03:05:59 ET
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