Well out of postseason contention, the Oakland Athletics are finally starting to show some power at the plate.
Coming off another big offensive effort, the A’s look for a second straight victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday at the Metrodome.
Last in the AL West, Oakland (63-77) set a season high with five homers in a 12-5 win on Friday for its fourth win in five games. The A’s, who’ve scored 10 or more runs three times in September to match their total coming into the month, are averaging 8.0 runs their last five contests.
Mark Ellis(notes) and Daric Barton(notes) each hit three-run homers, Kurt Suzuki(notes) had a two-run shot, Cliff Pennington(notes) had a solo drive and Jack Cust(notes) hit his 22nd for Oakland, which is batting .307 with 14 home runs while going 5-4 in September.
The A’s - who’ve hit 123 homers this season - entered this series last in the AL in that category, but hit their most in a game since hitting six at Arizona in June 2008.
“Not a good night pitching-wise, I think we all saw we got hammered,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club has lost two straight and six of nine to trail AL Central-leading Detroit by 5 1/2 games. “They put balls in the seats.”
Cust has homered twice in his last three games for Oakland, which is batting .301 with 12 home runs while going 5-3 against Minnesota this season. The slugger has three home runs and five RBIs versus the Twins in 2009.
While Oakland has hit the ball well lately, their pitching staff has a 3.35 ERA in its last five contests.
The A’s hope rookie Brett Anderson(notes) (8-10, 4.45 ERA) will fare better in this contest than he did when he allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings to take the loss in a 10-5 defeat against the Twins on June 9.
Anderson, however, looks to build off his first win since Aug. 9, after giving three runs and seven hits with six strikeouts in five innings of a 9-5 win over Seattle on Saturday.
“It’s always good when your team scores runs,” Anderson told the Athletics’ official Web site.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his last five contests.
Mauer is batting .393 against Oakland this season.
Jeff Manship(notes) (0-0, 4.41 ERA) will make his third career start for the Minnesota. The 24-year-old allowed three runs and seven hits but also threw 104 pitches in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-3 win at Toronto on Monday.
The right-hander, who has a 3.86 ERA as a starter, will make his first appearance against Oakland.