OAKLAND, CALIF. – With his innings piling up, Andrew Albers was a candidate to be removed from the Twins rotation. But manager Ron Gardenhire said following Friday’s 11-0 loss to Oakland that the rookie lefthander will get the ball one more time.
That’s good for him, because he wouldn’t want his last start to go the way it did Friday.
Albers and the Twins were battered by the rolling A’s. Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson hit home runs, the Twins committed four errors and Bartolo Colon threw six shutout innings. It was the Twins’ first four-error game since Oct. 1, 2009.
“An ugly night for us,” Gardenhire said. “Bartolo Colon pretty much dominated us. Every time we missed a play, they took advantage of it. Not a lot of fun in our dugout tonight.”
Albers (2-4) realized his big-league dreams after five seasons in the minors and opened his career with back-to-back gems against playoff contenders Kansas City and Cleveland. Since then, though, it’s been a rougher road. Friday, he lasted 4⅔ innings, giving up eight runs, three earned, on eight hits and one walk.
He entered the season having thrown a career-high 103 innings in 2012. He has pitched 132⅓ innings for Class AAA Rochester and 54⅓ for the Twins for a total of 186⅔ this season. The Twins are mindful of the jump in his workload.
“We’re going to limit his innings, and we’ll go from there,” Gardenhire said.
Cespedes opened the scoring with a homer in the second. Josh Reddick drove in a run with a single and later scored when Oswaldo Arcia misplayed Daric Barton’s single to right into extra bases. Alberto Callaspo drove in Derek Norris with a single in the four, after Norris stole second and went to third on Chris Herrmann’s errant throw.
The doozy came during the A’s five-run fifth. The bases were loaded with two outs when Chris Young sent a smash down the third base line. Eduardo Escobar made a splendid diving stop to his right, but he bounced his throw past Chris Parmelee at first, the ball rolling toward the seats where the Black Hole sits during Raiders games. That cleared the bases and made it 7-0.
“If we just made a couple plays behind him, it’s a different story, we’re still in the ballgame,” Gardenhire said.
Time running out
Joe Mauer worked out at Target Field. He’s not up to doing baseball-related activities, which means he’s still days away from the Twins even thinking about his return to the lineup.
And even General Manager Terry Ryan admitted, “We’re running out of days. There’s only so many days left.”
Mauer hasn’t played since Aug. 19, when he suffered a concussion when he was hit in the facemask with a foul ball. So the catcher has missed more than a month of action and would have to ramp up his activities immediately if he wants to play in the Twins’ season-ending homestand.
Minor leaguer suspended
Twins minor league pitcher Dallas Gallant was suspended for 50 games without pay for violating the minor league drug prevention program. Gallant tested positive for an amphetamine.
Gallant, 24, will be able to report to spring training and work out with teammates, but his suspension will begin once the minor league regular season begins.