Athletics 11, Twins 9, 13 innings

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Eric Byrnes popped out to second when he had chance to win the game in the 11th inning.

He made his next at-bat count, hitting a two-run homer in the 13th inning to give the Oakland Athletics an 11-9 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

“You always dream about second chances and I got a second chance,” he said. “It was awesome!”

The A’s snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Twins and won their first extra-inning game this year. There were 504 total pitches thrown in a game that lasted 4 hours, 53 minutes.

On Tuesday night, the Twins played the longest game of the season—a 16-inning, 4-3 loss in Seattle.

“These long games, we’ve played enough of them already,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Byrnes hit his first career walkoff homer to left off Terry Mulholland (0-1), who pitched 3 2-3 innings for the loss. The last game-ending homer he can remember hitting came as a freshman in college for UCLA to beat Stanford.

Chad Bradford (2-1), the A’s sixth pitcher used, worked three innings for the win.

“He’s unbelievable,” Byrnes said.

While the A’s still had Jim Mecir as an option to pitch, the Twins were looking at backup catcher Rob Bowen as their next choice. Gardenhire was thankful it didn’t come to that.

“You don’t think about how or when the game is going to end, you just go out and try to make your pitches,” 18-year veteran Mulholland said.

Joe Nathan blew his first save in the eighth. He entered with two runners on and walked the first two batters he faced, including Erubiel Durazo with the bases loaded to force in the tying run.

Pinch-hitter Jose Offerman gave Minnesota a temporary lead with a double— his 1,500th career hit—in the Twins’ four-run eighth.

Jermaine Dye had a sacrifice fly in the seventh to give the A’s the lead, but Oakland’s struggling bullpen let it slip away once again.

Cristian Guzman had a career-high five hits, singling to lead off the 13th. He had four hits in a game nine times.

The Twins got six hits in the eighth, four off Chris Hammond. Minnesota also capitalized on a walk and a throwing error by center fielder Mark Kotsay.

The A’s hit three home runs before Byrnes’ shot, but that wasn’t enough to avoid another bullpen collapse.

“I can’t say that was one of the prettiest games we played all year,” A’s manager Ken Macha said.

Dye’s flyout to right scored Byrnes, who led off the inning with a single off Joe Roa. The A’s added another run later in the inning when J.C. Romero walked Bobby Crosby with the bases loaded.

Oakland’s Ricardo Rincon allowed two straight hits to start the eighth. Hammond entered after Jacque Jones reached on a fielder’s choice and Lew Ford hit an RBI single to make it 7-6.

Offerman, who played in the independent Atlantic League last season, grounded sharply up the middle for a double to score Jones. Ford came home when Kotsay threw wildly past third base and into the A’s dugout.

Kielty connected for his first homer of the year off Johan Santana in the first, a monstrous shot to left-center. Chavez hit his ninth homer of the season two innings later.

Doug Mientkiewicz hit a two-run homer off Mark Redman in the sixth to tie the game at 5.

Torii Hunter returned to the Twins lineup after missing two games with a strained right hamstring, but he was limited to a designated hitter role.

Hunter hit an RBI double in the Twins’ three-run fourth.

Eric Karros connected for his first homer of the year, a two-run shot to left in the fourth.

Santana, who allowed only seven earned runs in his previous three starts, was tagged for seven hits and five runs in four innings and struck out five in his seventh start this season.

Redman retired eight of the first 10 Twins batters before walking Guzman and Mientkiewicz to start the fourth. He then gave up Koskie’s single and thedouble to Hunter.

Notes

Crosby got Oakland’s first sacrifice bunt of the season in the sixth. The A’s were the only team in the majors without one. … Mientkiewicz has hit safely in seven of his last eight games. … Santana threw 83 pitches in four innings. He has given up a team-high eight homers this year. … Mulhollandmade his 600th career appearance.

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