MINNEAPOLIS - The Oakland Athletics put on a hitting clinic at Target Field on Wednesday, collecting 22 hits to wallop the Minnesota Twins 18-3.
"A bad night, obviously, all the way around," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't pitch very well; they beat the crap out of us. The ball went flying everywhere."
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey got in trouble early and never found his rhythm, giving up seven runs on eight hits (with a walk and two strikeouts) in three-plus innings of work.
"You can't fall behind in the count and throw balls over the middle of the plate, which obviously I did a lot," Pelfrey said. "And it comes to the point where hitting becomes contagious and those guys caught on fire in the fourth and it was hard to stop. I put this team in a really bad spot obviously and I take full responsibility for this game. That's terrible."
But the A's pummeled nearly everyone else who took the hill for Minnesota. Three Twins pitchers threw part of Oakland's 10-run fourth inning, which essentially ended the game at its mid-point.
Among the 22 hits banged out by the A's hitters in the game, there were seven doubles and three home runs. One of the doubles, by pinch hitter Josh Reddick, hit the top of fence and bounced back on the field. It was initially called a home run but after review was changed to a ground-rule double.
Perhaps lost in all of Oakland's offensive fireworks was a decent outing by A's starting pitcher Sonny Gray. In collecting his third win, Gray threw 91 pitches in five innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
"That's huge for us," Stephen Vogt said. "After a tough loss last night to come out and have the bats come alive early like that and give Sonny a good cushion and kind of put the game away early--that was huge for us."
For Minnesota, the bright spots were hard to find in the drubbing, but in the sixth inning, September call up Eric Fryer made his Twins debut by hitting his first career home run.
By that time, the Twins and the A's were emptying their benches. The A's added two runs in the ninth inning.
Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes hit back-to-back doubles in the second inning to give the A's the lead. A walk to Seth Smith prompted an early visit to the mound for Pelfrey, but he got out of the inning with two strikeouts.
The next batter Pelfrey faced in the third, Coco Crisp, hit a home run off the right field foul pole -- the first homer Pelfrey had given up in four starts.
Pelfrey then hit Josh Donaldson in the hand and Donaldson advanced to second on a groundout. He scored on Moss' base hit up the middle.
The Twins scored in the third when Chris Herrmann hit a leadoff single to left, moved to second on Eduardo Escobar's walk and scored on Brian Dozier's base hit to left.
Pelfrey gave up four straight hits to open the fourth, which led to the roof caving in on the Twins. By the time the inning was over, pitchers Pelfrey and Josh Roenicke were gone, the umpires huddled and reversed a call, they tossed Gardenhire and the A's scored 10 runs on 10 hits (including a Vogt home run) for an 13-1 lead.
"You could see from our angle it was fair [and the umpire] admitted he was trying to get out of the way and didn't have a good view," A's manager Bob Melvin said of the disputed call on a hit down the first baseline that got Gardenhire tossed. "So it's all about getting it right, and they got it right. It's unpopular on the other side, and I would have thought the same thing, but they did get it right-and that's what it's all about."
In the fifth, the A's added three more runs, due in part to Jed Lowrie's 12th home run of the season.
The Twins tacked on one run in the bottom of the fifth when Alex Presley double to right and knocked in Pedro Florimon.
NOTES: The Twins minor leaguer Byron Buxton was named the 2013 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. ... The Twins have committed 65 errors this season, tying them with St. Louis for the fourth fewest in baseball. They are on pace for 73, which would set a franchise record. ... Coming into the game, the A's have 103 double plays-which is last in the MLB. The Twins are first with 164. ... A's starting pitchers are 13-5 with a 2.89 ERA over the last 26 games (since Aug. 14).