Eric Chavez is making an early push for player of the month.
The Athletics’ third baseman look to homer in his third straight game when Oakland continues its three-game set against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday at the Metrodome.
Chavez homered twice in a series-opening 7-6 loss on Tuesday. All three of his hits in the last two games have been homers, and he is tied with Cleveland’s Travis Hafner and Detroit’s Chris Shelton for the major league lead with five.
Chavez, who didn’t hit his fifth homer last season until June 27, needs five homers for 200 in his career.
“I’m probably physically as strong as I’ve ever been,” he said. “Mentally, going into the season I was prepared.”
Chavez answered by hitting a two-run homer in the eighth for his 15th career multihomer game.
Minnesota (2-5) needed the win after poor road trip to open 2006. Five losses in their first six games dropped the Twins to the bottom of the AL Central.
“The first week is only a test,” Batista said. “Now we’re back in business.”
But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t ready to say his team turned the corner.
“This hasn’t righted the ship,” he said. “We’re still an under-.500 team. But it’s a good feeling.”
The Twins split their first two games of 2006 against the Blue Jays before dropping four straight to Toronto and Cleveland. In those losses, Minnesota averaged just 2.8 runs per game while being outscored 23-11.
Minnesota’s Carlos Silva will try to bounce back from a bad outing in his season debut. He gave up six runs on only five hits with two walks over 5 2-3 innings on Thursday in a 6-3 loss to Toronto.
The right-hander has made four appearances including three career start against the A’s, but has yet to record a decision.
In 24 innings pitched, Silva has given up seven runs and 21 hits with 10 strikeouts and just two walks.
He will be opposed by Esteban Loaiza, also looking for a better outing after his debut Thursday. Loaiza, who was second on Washington with 12 wins in 2005, allowed five runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 6-2 loss to Seattle.
He is just 3-6 with a 5.12 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, at Minnesota.
Oakland has dropped two of three in Minnesota after winning four in a row there.