Twins 3, Athletics 2, 10 innings
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—On many a night, Kevin Slowey’s numbers would have earned him a win in his major league debut. His Minnesota Twins teammates pulled out a victory after he was gone—and that pleased Slowey plenty.
Slowey allowed one run and five hits, struck out three and walked two in six innings, calmly working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first despite throwing 25 pitches to do so.
“It was pretty amazing,” Slowey said. “When we got here, I went out and walked around and tried to have that ‘Oh my gosh’ moment before the game. I felt like I made the pitches I needed to make. A couple of those at-bats dragged on.”
Nathan walked Travis Buck leading off the 10th, and Milton Bradley singled one out later for his third hit of the game, setting up Dan Johnson’s sacrifice fly. After a walk to Eric Chavez, Nathan struck out Bobby Crosby to end the game.
Chavez hit a tying solo home run in the sixth against Slowey, who was impressive in six innings.
“Slowey did super for us, just fantastic,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The one ball when they finally scored a run on us—Chavy, he does that against a lot of people.”
The A’s welcomed back center fielder Mark Kotsay, who received a warm reception when introduced before the game—his first this season.
Kotsay was activated from the 60-day disabled list and was in the starting lineup to make his season debut after recovering from an operation on his lower back March 8. He went 1-for-4 batting in the seventh hole, and had a yellow sign reading “Kotsay’s Korner” hanging above him in center.
Cirillo broke a scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly to center in the third that scored Nick Punto, who led off the inning with a bunt single. The Twins played in Oakland for the first time since being swept in three games by the A’s at the Coliseum during the AL division series last October.
Slowey knows not every outing will go this smoothly—and some will be better. He was encouraged to see that Nathan, too—“one of the best closers in the game”—sometimes gets into trouble only to escape unscathed.
“He’s a pretty calm guy,” Gardenhire said of Slowey beforehand. “Put a heart monitor on him and see if it goes up.”
The 23-year-old Texan—with about 20 family and friends in the stands cheering him—had issued only five walks in 64 1-3 innings for Triple-A Rochester and didn’t give up an earned run or walk in his first 18 innings this year.
His poise is one of his best traits, too. After a few innings, Gardenhire asked his pitcher how he was doing only to hear Slowey quip: “How you doing?”
Joe Kennedy pitched well for eight innings but hasn’t won in four outings since beating the Royals in Kansas City on May 10.
“It’s gotten to the point it’s a broken record,” he said. “You just have to keep going.”
Kennedy came in with an 8.56 ERA against the Twins, his highest against any American League team.
The left-hander went eight innings for the first time while with Oakland.
“Kennedy did a fine job of taking us deep into the game,” manager Bob Geren said. “You take it into extra innings and we just didn’t get the breaks. It was nice to see Kotsay in there. He looked good in center field.”
Chavez’s two-out single in the eighth snapped an 0-for-38 streak by opponents against Twins’ relievers dating to the 13th inning May 26 against Toronto.
Kennedy’s strikeout of Castillo in the seventh ended the pitcher’s stretch of 18 2-3 innings without a K, the longest strikeout drought in Oakland history. … Swisher extended his season-best hitting streak to 10 games with the first-inning single. … The Twins had scored four or more runs in 12 straight games. … Chavez fouled off nine pitches and six in a row before popping out to end the third and a 13-pitch at-bat. He homered with two strikes against for the sixth time among his seven homers. … To make roster room for Kotsay, the A’s optioned infielder Donnie Murphy to Triple-A Sacramento.