Monday, April 7, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Yoenis Cespedes proved he can play through a hurting right heel, giving Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics a spark with a pair of RBIs that helped spoil the Minnesota Twins' home opener with an 8-3 victory on Monday.
Cespedes has been hobbling around the last few days with the injury, but the team wasn't worried enough about it to hold him out of the lineup. The Cuban slugger followed a leadoff walk to Brandon Moss by crushing a double in the second inning for the first run against Kevin Correia (0-1) and hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Moss added a two-run single in the third and Derek Norris homered in the sixth.
Kazmir (2-0), who stymied with Twins in five starts against them last season for Cleveland, completed six innings with six hits, three runs and four walks allowed.
He struck out five, and RBI doubles by Aaron Hicks and Jason Kubel were the only damaging hits against him.
The 30-year-old Kazmir dazzled in his A's debut with 7 1-3 scoreless innings last week against his old team, the Indians. He did the same against the Twins in 2013, going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings with 36 strikeouts. At least the Twins won't have to face him four more times, as they did as a division foe. They travel to Oakland for a four-game series in August, the only other possible rematch.
Correia took a step back from his first start. About the only dependable starter last year in a ragged rotation that has since been upgraded through free agency, the right-hander was removed with two outs in the sixth. He yielded nine hits, six runs and two walks while striking out three.
Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick also drove in runs for the A's, who played without center fielder Coco Crisp because of a sore left wrist.
The Twins had double that trouble, with left fielder Josh Willingham (left wrist) and right fielder Oswaldo Arcia (right wrist) both out of the lineup. Backup first baseman Chris Colabello, who had a league-leading 11 RBIs over the first week of the season, played for Arcia and made a lunging catch of a sinking line drive to start a double play that ended the second inning. Kubel took over for Willingham, and backup catcher Josmil Pinto was the designated hitter.
Jed Lowrie hit what the A's believed was a home run down the right-field line in the third inning, but the call on the field was a foul ball and the umpire-initiated review upheld the ruling. Lowrie took a walk instead and later scored.
NOTES: Lowrie was hit by a pitch on the lower right leg in the seventh inning and was in too much pain to stay in the game. Nick Punto, who played seven seasons for the Twins, entered as a pinch runner and eventually scored on a balk by Sam Deduno. ... The Athletics made a bullpen shuffle before the game, reinstating RH Ryan Cook from the disabled list and sending RH Evan Scribner to Triple-A Sacramento. Cook, who was out with shoulder tendinitis, pitched the ninth. ... The Twins have brought evergreen trees back to the decor, a lighter-colored variety of juniper now planted behind the center field seats high above the field. When the ballpark opened in 2010, the popular-with-fans dark spruce trees that stood in front of the black batter's eye prompted complaints from hitters and were taken out. ... Attendance was announced at 35,837, more than 3,000 below official capacity. ... The three-game series resumes on Wednesday afternoon, with RH Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.50 ERA) pitching for the A's against Twins RH Phil Hughes (0-0, 7.20 ERA). ... In support of Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who is undergoing radiation treatment for the disease, the teams wore Stand Up To Cancer patches on their uniform, reflecting one of Major League Baseball's favored charities.