Athletics-Twins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 10, 2013
After an impressive homestand, the surging Oakland Athletics are hoping to see their momentum carry over on the road. Giving the ball to Jarrod Parker could help them do just that. Parker looks to extend his career-best winning streak to 10 on Tuesday night as Oakland renews its season series with the Minnesota Twins, who are coming off their first home victory in nearly a month. The Athletics (83-60) have climbed into first place in the AL West behind an 11-3 run, a stretch during which they have hit .303 while outscoring opponents 79-47. Oakland visits Target Field seeking a fourth consecutive win after concluding an 8-2 homestand with Sunday's 7-2 victory over Houston. Brandon Moss went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Seth Smith hit a three-run homer. "It doesn't matter who we play," catcher Stephen Vogt told MLB's official website. "We have to win every game. And coming away 8-2 on this homestand is a good way to roll into the road." Winners in 15 of their last 20 against the AL Central, the A's have to be feeling good about turning to Parker (11-6, 3.57 ERA). The right-hander hasn't lost since May 22, going 9-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his last 18 starts. "He goes out there and shuts teams down," Moss said. "He puts the ball in play and doesn't walk anybody. When he gets in trouble, he finds a way to dig deep and get himself out of it. That's what aces do." Parker outdueled Texas' Yu Darvish on Wednesday, yielding two runs and five hits in six innings of an 11-4 victory. "I'm just trying to stay in the moment," he said. Parker went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two matchups against the Twins last year, both of which came in Minnesota. The Twins (62-80) enter this three-game set with some momentum after snapping a franchise worst-tying 10-game home losing streak with Monday's 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Minnesota is 8-21 at home since June 30, the majors' second-worst record over that stretch. "We all know we've lost a few ballgames in a row here at home," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The people that showed up here were rooting pretty hard, and our guys were playing pretty hard, too. Big win." Minnesota now turns to Liam Hendriks (1-2, 5.28) for his first home start after making six on the road. The right-hander was tagged for five runs - three earned - and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in Wednesday's 6-5 walkoff loss at Houston. "It was embarrassing," said Hendriks, against whom opponents are batting .302. "I got lackadaisical out there, and I just wasn't myself. I have to get back to getting ahead early, and keeping the ball down." In his only appearance versus Oakland, Hendriks surrendered four runs in five innings in a 5-1 road loss Aug. 22, 2012. He will need to be careful against Yoenis Cespedes, who is 13 for 32 with two homers in eight games this month. "That's big for us," Melvin said. "It just seems like we have better energy when he's swinging the bat." Cespedes led the A's to five wins in their final six games against the Twins last year, hitting safely in each while going 11 for 24 with two homers and eight RBIs. Oakland's Josh Donaldson is expected to rejoin the lineup after sitting out Sunday due to a strained right quad. The third baseman is 10 for 22 with two homers, five doubles and five RBIs during a five-game hitting streak.
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