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A's 11, Twins 0

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Put the champagne on ice. The Oakland Athletics could be celebrating their second straight American League West championship on Saturday after routing the Minnesota Twins 11-0 on Friday night at the O.co Coliseum.

The A's victory combined with the second-place Texas Rangers' 2-1 loss to Kansas City cut Oakland's magic number to win the West to two. If Oakland beats the Twins on Saturday afternoon and the Rangers lose to the Royals that night, the A's can pop the corks.

A's right-hander Bartolo Colon (17-6) blanked the Twins for six innings, allowing five hits, striking out eight and walking one for his third straight win.

Yoenis Cespedes hit his career high 25th home run of the season, a solo shot to right center leading off the second inning that gave the A's a 1-0 lead. Josh Donaldson hit his career-high 24th home run in the sixth, a two-run blast to right-center that extended the A's lead to 11-0.

Coming into the game, the A's had hit 60 home runs in their previous 40 games -- 11 more than any other team in the major leagues during that stretch. Make that 61 homers in 41 games.

Donaldson went 2-for-3, drove in two runs, scored twice and raised his average to .306. He reached base safely for the 25th straight game. Derek Norris, Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick each had two hits.

As the A's came to bat in the bottom of the fourth with a 3-0 lead, the final score from Kansas City was posted on the out-of-town scoreboard and the sellout crowd of 36,067 on Star Wars Fireworks Night roared its approval.

Twins left-hander Andrew Albers (2-4) gave up eight runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, but only three of those runs were earned. Minnesota hurt itself with three errors in the first five innings and added error No. 4 in the seventh.

The A's grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Cespedes led off by launching launched Albers' 3-2 sinker into the left-center seats, above and beyond the 388-foot mark. Norris lined a double to right field that Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia appeared to lose in the lights -- he turned away as the ball zipped past him. With one out, Norris moved to third on Callaspo's groundout. Reddick brought Norris home, beating out an infield single.

The A's took advantage of an Arcia error to make it 3-0. Daric Barton lined a single down the right field line that hopped over Arcia's glove for a two-base error, as Reddick scored from first.

Oakland extended its lead to 4-0 with a run in the fourth. Norris hit a leadoff single, stole second with one out and raced to third when catcher Chris Herrmann's throw went into center field for an error. Callaspo lined an RBI single to left, driving in Norris.

The A's added five unearned runs in the fifth, batting around and taking a 9-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Chris Young hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line. Eduardo Escobar made a diving stop, but he threw wildly to first for an error, clearing the bases. That was it for Albers, but the A's scored two more runs in the inning off reliever Ryan Pressly.

NOTES: Cespedes (right shoulder tendinitis) returned to the lineup at designated hitter after missing Thursday night's game. Cespedes received a cortisone injection in his throwing shoulder after Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels in hopes of speeding his recovery and having him return to the lineup in left field. A's manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes felt "good enough to DH," but he's not ready to throw and play in the outfield. "So it might be for at least a few days that he's DHing." ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe (strained left wrist) was out of the lineup. He left Thursday night's game after striking out in the top of the eighth and feeling some pain in his wrist, which he said has been nagging him off and on since June. Plouffe said he felt healthy enough to play, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he wanted to give him some rest. Plouffe also took a nasty face-first spill during the game while chasing a foul ball and tripping over the A's bullpen mound down the left-field line. ... A's 3B Josh Donaldson reached base safely for the 25th straight game.