MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario drove a go-ahead, three-run homer on the first pitch from reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh inning and the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 Thursday night.
With one powerful swing , Rosario produced the first pinch-hit homer of the year for the Twins and helped snap their season-high three-game losing streak. Mitch Garver and C.J. Cron each went deep in the eighth to pad the lead, and Taylor Rogers held the A’s down for two innings to record his 14th save in 17 tries.
Despite seven strong innings by starter Kyle Gibson (9-4), the Twins trailed 3-1 entering the seventh against Mike Fiers. Luis Arraez, the rookie second baseman who has provided an unexpected midsummer spark, doubled with one out before Miguel Sanó drew a walk.
Fiers was pulled for Petit (2-2), the most-used pitcher in the major leagues with 49 appearances, and Rosario crushed the right-hander’s 90 mph fastball off the videoboard facade beneath the second deck in right-center while admiring the trajectory before his trot around the bases. That was his 21st home run, his first since June 23 due to a stint on the injured list for a sprained left ankle, and he obliged the Target Field crowd of 28,432 with a curtain call.
With Cleveland on a five-game winning streak to whittle the AL Central lead to four games, the smallest since May 19, the Twins badly needed this jolt from Rosario, who was held out of the original lineup along with All-Star shortstop Jorge Polanco for pre-planned rest. Center fielder Byron Buxton has also been notably absent this week because of concussion-like symptoms.
The surging A’s arrived as a formidable opponent for this four-game series, and Jurickson Profar hit a two-run home run in sixth inning off Gibson to give them the edge after an RBI double by Khris Davis tied the game at 1 in the fourth.
With the first-pitch temperature at 87 degrees on an extra-muggy night, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott was hit with a double whammy when Cron’s foul ball banged off his mask. He was removed from the game, with Bruce Dreckman moving from second base to fill in after a delay of about 10 minutes. After the unexpected break, Fiers finished the inning with one pitch by completing his strikeout of Cron.
For the second time this week, the Twins dropped a reliever from the roster, this time designating right-hander for assignment Matt Magill, who gave up six unearned runs in one inning Wednesday. Right-hander Kohl Stewart was recalled from Triple-A to take his place, creating a fourth opening on the 40-man roster for potential trades in the next two weeks before the deadline.
Athletics: All-Star 3B Matt Chapman was on the bench with a sore left ankle, after being removed from the previous game after two innings.
Twins: Buxton participated in pregame baseball activities on the field and, according to manager Rocco Baldelli, was “energy-wise doing very well.” He’s eligible to return on Monday, but Baldelli declined to speculate about whether he would be immediately reinstated.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-4, 3.98 ERA), who threw six shutout innings last week in a win against Chicago, takes the mound on Friday night.
Twins: All-Star RHP Jake Odorizzi (11-4, 3.06 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA in six starts at home this season, pitches the second game of the series.