OAKLAND, CALIF. – As Cole De Vries took the mound on Sunday, he couldn’t help but think about his grandfather Leonard De Vries.
“It was he and my dad all the way up, teaching me and my brother how to play baseball,’’ De Vries said. “It was really fortunate that he lived long enough to see me pitch in the big leagues and pitch a decent amount.’’
Leonard De Vries died Saturday after suffering a stroke. Before that, he had been battling cancer. The family thought he had about a month to live. Cole De Vries, making his first major league start since Sept. 17, 2012, had mixed emotions. His grandfather was gone, but he also knew that he would have been suffering at the end.
“It happened a lot quicker than we thought,’’ he said.
De Vries pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and got the first two outs of the second. Then he walked two batters, started to press and walked a third. Eric Sogard hit a two-run single. Coco Crisp pounded a high slider for a three-run homer, and Josh Donaldson added an RBI double. Oakland went on to an 11-7 victory.
“Cole looked like he was going to be all right,’’ manager Ron Gardenhire said, “then boom, he just fell apart.’’
De Vries didn’t think was affected by his grandfather’s passing.
“He meant a lot to me and was a big part of my life, especially baseball. I wanted nothing more than to go out there and pitch a good game, given the circumstances, but it didn’t work out that way.’’
Arcia, good and bad
Oswaldo Arcia hit an RBI single in the first inning, a three-run homer in the third and a two-run single in the ninth. The six RBI tied the Twins rookie record set by Tony Oliva in 1964.
It was hard for Arcia to savor the moment much because of the loss.
“On a personal note, it doesn’t really matter,” Arcia said through translator Chris Colabello. “The main objective every day is to play hard and try to win a game regardless of what I do personally. I’m happy with my at-bats but can’t be 100 percent happy because of the results.’’
Arcia leads AL rookies with 33 extra-base hits and 14 home runs.
Gardenhire wasn’t happy either. In fact, he was flabbergasted because Arcia rounded first too far after his single in the ninth and was thrown out by right fielder Josh Reddick, who threw behind him.
“Little League stuff,’’ Gardenhire said. “That’s not concentrating. We have to fix that. Mentally, you have to be in the game here.’’
Gardenhire also was unhappy with Brian Dozier, who singled in the seventh but was caught too far off the bag on Trevor Plouffe’s flyout to right and was also thrown out by Reddick.
Joe Mauer worked out at Target Field on Saturday with no problems and was expected to do so again on Sunday. The Twins didn’t have an update available after Sunday’s game.