At plate and on mound, A’s no match for Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—There are no 96 mph heaters from Kevin Slowey. No bat-breaking sliders or splitters that feel like bowling balls to opposing hitters.
It’s all about pitching smarts and location for the 24-year-old right-hander.
Facing an Oakland Athletics lineup that is turning swinging and missing into an art form, that combination proved to be just as dominant on Tuesday night.
“I’d love to throw it 96 or 97, but I definitely don’t. I don’t have a slider like Joe Nathan,” Slowey said. “But the Twins are huge proponents of location over velocity and I’m always making a big point of that. If you keep the ball low, 92 looks a lot harder than 97 at the belt.”
Buscher had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Twins pummeled Sean Gallagher (1-2) for 10 earned runs in five innings to bounce back from a lackluster effort in a 3-2 loss to Oakland on Monday.
The Twins remained one game behind first-place Chicago in the AL Central.
“These are the games we need to win, playing a team that’s struggling a little bit this year,” Twins outfielder Denard Span said. “These are games we’re supposed to win.”
It was one of the ugliest losses in a season full of them for the A’s, who fell to 6-24 since the All-Star break, trail the Angels by 19 1/2 games in the AL West and haven’t won consecutive games since July 10-11.
“We’re in a serious funk,” Gallagher said. “The whole goal coming into a season is to win as many series as you can and we obviously haven’t been doing a good job of that. For whatever reason we can’ get that final game to win a series.”
As bad as it was for Oakland on the mound, it only got worse when the A’s stepped to the plate against Slowey.
Jack Cust struck out three times, bringing his season total to a staggering 156. It was his 45th multi-strikeout game and the 17th time this season he’s struck out at least three times in a game.
Slowey allowed two runs—one earned—and five hits with no walks in seven innings. His lone mistake was to Kurt Suzuki, who hit the first pitch of the second inning into the seats in left to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
Buscher’s two-run shot and an RBI triple by Span had the Twins up 3-1 after two innings. Brendan Harris and Morneau had run-scoring doubles in a three-run third to put the Twins ahead 6-1.
“We had to after we got beat yesterday,” Buscher said. “We came out and hit the ball pretty good tonight.”
With his bullpen overextended after ace Justin Duchscherer left with an injured hip in the third inning on Monday night, A’s manager Bob Geren had to leave Gallagher out there longer than he would have liked.
Carlos Gomez’s homer highlighted a four-run fifth that pushed the lead to 10-2, and Geren could bear to watch no longer.
“The bullpen was really thin and we needed him to go out and give us four or five innings,” Geren said.
In the dog days of August, Gallagher sounded like the dreaded “dead arm” might be setting in.
“I just felt like I didn’t have anything in my arm,” he said. “The ball felt like a feather. I just didn’t feel like I had anything behind it.”
Geren did not have an update on Duchscherer before the game. He was flying home to California for an examination. … Twins C Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a single in the third. … The Twins played without LF Delmon Young (ankle) and SS Adam Everett (hand). Both could miss the series finale on Wednesday as well. … It was the struggling Gomez’s sixth homer, but first since June 6, a span of 224 at-bats.