Athletics 8, Twins 2

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—After playing 27 innings in 27 hours, the Oakland Athletics were just glad to be going home. Going home with two victories was a bonus.

Mark Kotsay and Scott Hatteberg each drove in two runs, and Rich Harden gave the Oakland bullpen a rest in the Athletics’ 8-2 victory Monday over the Minnesota Twins.

A day after each team used seven pitchers in Oakland’s 18-inning victory, starters Harden and Kyle Lohse each pitched into the seventh. The A’s took three of four from Minnesota in a matchup of AL division leaders and completed a 7-4 road trip that included series against the Rangers and Yankees.

“If I told you I wasn’t sore and wasn’t feeling it, I’d be lying,” said Kotsay, who played all 27 innings in center field for the Athletics on Sunday and Monday. “But you have to be professional about it. We know what we have to do to get ourselves ready to play.”

The game also marked the debut of Oakland reliever Jairo Garcia, who began the season in Class-A and worked his way up to the big leagues in time to pitch two scoreless innings, further sparing the Athletics’ worn-out bullpen.

“For a guy who woke up at 3 a.m., got on a plane and flew out here today, he gave us a couple of innings we desperately needed,” manager Ken Macha said.

Garcia wasn’t the only player who needed a wakeup call after the teams went 11 innings in the series opener on Friday, then played for 4 hours, 57 minutes on Sunday.

“The guys were going around the clubhouse saying, ‘Let’s get going here, we’ve only got nine innings to play,”’ Macha said.

Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez said his body probably would have a delayed reaction to the stress of the weekend.

“Surprisingly, I felt pretty decent this morning,” Chavez said. “I don’t think there was enough time for my body to feel the aches and pains. It’s probably a good thing we jumped right back into it.”

Harden (6-5), who hasn’t lost in nine starts since June 21 at Anaheim, allowed two runs, seven hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings.

“I was just so-so, but it all turned out pretty good,” he said. “The guys were making plays behind me, and that helped.”

Oakland took the lead for good in the sixth, when two walks and Hatteberg’s double loaded the bases. Eric Byrnes’ RBI single tied the score at 2, and Marco Scutaro hit into a double play as the go-ahead run scored.

The Athletics chased Lohse (5-9) with a run in the seventh, then broke the game open with four in the eighth off relievers Aaron Fultz and Jesse Crain. Kotsay’s two-run double was the key hit as Oakland sent 10 batters to the plate and took an 8-2 lead.

Lohse gave up four runs, eight hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings for the Twins, who have lost four of their last five.

When asked if his team was sluggish after Sunday’s long game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said: “That’s a given. But there are only a certain number of guys you can give the day off to. But it’s the same for them over there.”

The Twins scored the first run with a two-out rally in the first. Jose Offerman tripled to right and scored on Justin Morneau’s single.

Oakland tied the game in the fifth on an RBI double by Adam Melhuse.

Minnesota regained the lead when Luis Rivas drove the second pitch of the fifth inning from Harden into the stands in left field for his seventh home run of the season.

But Harden stuck around long enough to give his team what it needed most— innings.

“Before the game, everybody was joking that we didn’t really have anybody in our bullpen until Garcia showed up,” Harden said. “So it was something that was definitely on my mind, to go deep.”


Garcia replaced RHP Chad Bradford on the roster when the Athletics placed Bradford on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back. … The Twins had won six consecutive series before this one. … Athletics SS Bobby Crosby, who left Sunday’s game in the 10th inning with back spasms, was held out of the lineup to rest his back.

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