Minnesota (17-12) at Oakland (14-16)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun May 9, 2004
  • TV: FSNO, FSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mark Mulder looks to bounce back from an “embarrassing” outing when the Oakland Athletics host the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game series.

Mulder has struggled on the mound this season, and is coming off a frustrating performance in Oakland’s 10-8 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old left-hander blew a six-run lead, allowing seven runs and 13 hits over 6 1-3 innings. He did not receive a decision, leaving him with a 1-2 mark in his last five starts.

“It’s just embarrassing,” said Mulder. “I can’t hold a 7-1 lead? It’s ridiculous. Up 7-1 and can’t get a win? That’s ridiculous. … It’s not really frustration. It’s more embarrassment.

“I just didn’t get it done, man. There’s really nothing else to say.”

It’s not just Mulder but all of Oakland’s Big Three who have gotten off to rough starts this season. Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mulder are a combined 1-4 over their last nine starts with a 6.59 ERA.

Oakland, built around its dominant pitching, has lost four of six and 10 of its last 14. Hudson pitched nine solid innings Saturday, surrendering just two runs and nine hits. But he still came away without a decision as the Twins pulled out a 3-2 win in the 10th inning when shortstop Bobby Crosby dropped a fly ball, allowing Shannon Stewart to score from the first.

The Twins have won nine of the last 10 regular season meetings from the A’s, and also knocked Oakland out in five games in the 2002 AL division series.

It was the second straight extra-inning game in the series as Oakland took the opener 11-9 in 13. Minnesota has played three extra-inning games in five days.

“You never know what’s going to happen in extra innings,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We lost last night and lost in Seattle but we’ve won our share of these things over the years. They made a mistake, and we scored a run. You have to feel lucky when you face Hudson. You don’t get many opportunities.”

Torii Hunter had an RBI single and Jacque Jones hit his sixth homer for Minnesota.

STANDINGS (through May 7): Twins - 1st place (tied), AL Central. Athletics - 3rd place, 6 GB, AL West.

TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kyle Lohse (1-2, 6.21 ERA). The right-hander, who has not received a decision in three straight starts, allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in Minnesota’s 4-3, 16-inning loss at Seattle on Tuesday. He is 0-0 with a 5.91 ERA in two career starts against the A’s.

ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Mulder (2-2, 4.12 ERA). In nine career starts against Minnesota, Mulder is 4-3 with a 2.66 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Lew Ford, .359 avg.; Jones, 6 HRs, 19 runs and 7 SBs; Jones and Ford, 20 RBIs. Athletics - Damian Miller and Erubiel Durazo, .309 avg.; Eric Chavez, 9 HRs; Jermaine Dye, 23 RBIs; Dye and Chavez, 20 runs; Eric Byrnes, 5 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - In his second game after being activated from the disabled List, CF Hunter remained the designated hitter to help rest his tender right hamstring. He is 4-for-8 with two RBIs since coming back. … SS Cristian Guzman is 11-for-29 (.379) in the No. 2 slot, 23-for-80 (.288) elsewhere in the batting order this season. … RHP Joe Nathan struck out the side in the 10th around a walk Saturday for his eighth save in nine chances. Athletics - CF Mark Kotsay left after the fifth inning Saturday because of a sore right knee. … DH Durazo has hit safely in nine straight games, going 16-for-37 (.432) with four home runs and 12 RBIs… 2B Mark McLemore went 1-for-4 in seven innings Friday night for Sacramento of the PCL in his latest rehab start.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 7-7 on the road; Athletics - 6-8 at home.

INJURIES: Twins - C Matthew LeCroy (knee), 15-day DL; C Joe Mauer (ribs), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Balfour (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Joe Mays (elbow), 60-day DL. Athletics - INF Mark Ellis (shoulder), 15-day DL; INF McLemore (knee), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Lohse Mil vs. M. Mulder LAA
9-13 Record 17-8
5.34 ERA 4.43
111 K 140
76 BB 83
1.63 WHIP 1.36