Oakland sweeps Twins at roomy Target Field

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2014 - 4:10 AM

Only 20,650, the smallest crowd in Target Field history, saw the Twins’ latest one-sided loss to the A’s.

 

You have to appreciate the optimism, at least, of a team that hands out magnetic schedules for three consecutive days, then gives the paying customers so little reason to need them.

The smallest crowd in Target Field history — announced at 20,650, topping the previous low of 21,826 last Sept. 9 — was rewarded Thursday with bright sunshine, relatively warm temperatures, and the Twins’ ninth loss in a row on their home diamond, dating back to last season.

Coincidentally, the deflating 6-1 loss to Oakland was also the Twins’ ninth in a row against the A’s, a team that accomplishes to many of the things they aspire to: Offense at every spot in the lineup, enough power to score more than a run at a time, and starting pitching that might not be overpowering but still is plenty effective.

“It’s a tough team,” outfielder Jason Kubel said of the defending AL West champions. “We battled. We just have to keep playing hard and start scoring some runs.”

Heck, start with some hits. Brian Dozier smashed his third home run of the season in the first inning, and Kubel and Josmil Pinto added singles in the second. But Dan Straily and his 88-mile-per-hour fastball held the Twins hitless from that point on. With the help of two relievers, no Twins player reached second base in the final seven innings.

“Those little breaking balls, and the deception with his fastball — he had us off-balance,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

That’s a big change. The Twins actually led the league in scoring during the season’s first week, and were confident that their offense was underrated. But the A’s held them to eight runs over three games, scored 21 of their own, and swept a series from the Twins for the third time in three seasons.

Maybe it’s best that so few people showed up to watch.

“It’s 12 o’clock,” Kubel theorized about all the empty seats. “People are working.”

And they chose work over play, perhaps knowing what was to come. The Twins market those midweek noon starts as a great way to play hooky from the office, but the team seems to skip out, too; they haven’t won one of these weekday matinees here since last June, going 0-6 in since then.

“It’s not about the ballpark, it’s our players. We’ve won here,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve got to get it done. It’s not the ballpark.”

Maybe not, but Target Field hasn’t felt homey in a while. The Twins are 5-25 here since last Aug. 13.

Worst of all, the Twins have dissipated much of the energy they built during a 3-3 season-opening road trip, and it’s not exactly a secret why: They have yet to win a well-pitched game.

Only once in nine games has their starter delivered a quality start (by its six-inning, three-run definition), and the bullpen surrendered that lead.

The culprit Thursday was Mike Pelfrey, who didn’t come close to having the shutdown stuff he displayed for five innings last Friday in Cleveland. Instead, this performance resembled the every-inning messiness of the 2013 Pelfrey. He was the slow-working, high-pitch-count, constantly-falling-behind righthander who doesn’t attack the strike zone.

“Pelf was just picking too much. He gets long counts, gets behind hitters and then they whack it,” Gardenhire said. “He’s trying to be too fine. You’ve got to throw the ball over the plate. Just off the plate outside, just off the plate inside — that’s not good enough.”

Pelfrey gave up six runs on nine hits over five innings and, unlike his sudden meltdown last week, the damage didn’t come all at once. After retiring the side in order in the first inning, he put on at least two baserunners in every inning, and Oakland scored in four of the six innings he started. Every A’s batter collected a hit except Wednesday’s home run hero, Derek Norris. And Josh Donaldson and Sam Fuld each connected for their first home run of the year.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Oakland 6, Twins 1

    Thursday April 10, 2014

  • Photo gallery: Oakland 6, Twins 1

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    MLB action from Target Field, Thursday, April 10. The Athletics completed an early-season sweep over the Twins.

  • Postgame: Pelfrey takes a step backward

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    after a sweep at the hands of Oakland, all seems gloomy at Target Field once more. The clubhouse was whisper-quiet after the game.

  • Twins notes: Mastroianni feeling good after stint in minors

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    In retrospect, Darin Mastroianni said Thursday, getting sent to the minors last month was the best thing that happened to...

  • Video: Pelfrey left pitches over the middle vs. A's

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey says he got what he deserved Thursday for leaving pitches over the plate -- a...

  • Joe Mauer is in the pink with debut of his own Minnesota twins

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    Mauer was joined Thursday by his 8-month-old twins, Emily and Maren, on the field before the game at Target Field as he accepted the Silver Slugger award.

  • Twins-Oakland game recap

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerDan Straily, OaklandThe righthander worked seven innings and didn’t give up any hits to the Twins after the...

  • Section 219: How long will the Twins beatings continue?

    Thursday April 10, 2014

    The Twins played ugly baseball in getting swept by Oakland.

  • Oakland's Sam Fuld rounded the bases after hitting a home run in the 4th inning scoring Nick Punto.

  • (left) Minnesota Twins Brian Dozier rounded the bases after hitting a...

  • Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey returned to his bad 2013 form against the A’s on Thursday. He worked slowly, got behind batters and was not aggressive. He gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings.

  • The A’s Jed Lowrie threw to first base after forcing out the Twins’ Brian Dozier at second.

  • OAKLAND 6, TWINS 1

    Up next: 7:10 p.m. Friday vs. Kansas City • Target Field • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa Bay - WP: J. McGee 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Morrow 5
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 6
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez 7
Miami - WP: A. DeSclafani 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 4
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Garza 9
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 8 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 4
Minnesota - WP: T. May 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 4
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 4
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 10
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 6 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 1
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 6 FINAL
Arizona - WP: Z. Spruill 8
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 4 FINAL
Seattle - LP: C. Young 0
NY Yankees 1 Top 9th Inning
Baltimore 1
Miami 10 FINAL
Buffalo 29
Jacksonville 10 FINAL
Washington 41
Dallas 26 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Arizona 25 FINAL
NY Giants 14
New England 30 FINAL
Minnesota 7
New Orleans 24 FINAL
Cleveland 26
Atlanta 10 FINAL
Cincinnati 24
Detroit 7 FINAL
Carolina 24
St. Louis 19 FINAL
Tampa Bay 17
Seattle 21 FINAL
San Diego 30
NY Jets 24 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Kansas City 17 FINAL
Denver 24
Houston 30 FINAL
Oakland 14
Chicago 7 3rd Qtr 3:53
San Francisco 20
Philadelphia 9/15/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
Boise State 38 FINAL
Connecticut 21
Indiana 42 FINAL
Bowling Green 45
Ga Southern 38 FINAL
Georgia Tech 42
Syracuse 40 FINAL
Central Mich 3
UCF 10 FINAL
(18) Missouri 38
Massachusetts 31 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
Ohio U 14 FINAL
Marshall 44
West Virginia 40 FINAL
Maryland 37
Kent State 0 FINAL
(23) Ohio State 66
Pittsburgh 42 FINAL
FIU 25
East Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia Tech 21
Louisville 21 FINAL
Virginia 23
Wyoming 14 FINAL
(2) Oregon 48
Air Force 48 FINAL
Georgia State 38
(13) Georgia 35 FINAL
(14) So Carolina 38
Arkansas 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 28
Iowa State 20 FINAL
Iowa 17
Miami-Ohio 10 FINAL
Michigan 34
Kansas 3 FINAL
Duke 41
NC State 49 FINAL
So Florida 17
Arkansas State 20 FINAL
Miami-Florida 41
Miss State 35 FINAL
South Alabama 3
Louisiana 15 FINAL
(10) Ole Miss 56
Minnesota 7 FINAL
TCU 30
Illinois 19 FINAL
Washington 44
Army 0 FINAL
(16) Stanford 35
Western Mich 45 FINAL
Idaho 33
Eastern Mich 3 FINAL
Old Dominion 17
Southern Miss 12 FINAL
(3) Alabama 52
Northern Ill 48 FINAL
UNLV 34
Tulsa 21 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 50
ULM 0 FINAL
(8) LSU 31
Wake Forest 24 FINAL
Utah State 36
Western Ky 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 50
TX-San Antonio 13 FINAL
(25) Oklahoma State 43
Purdue 14 FINAL
(9) Notre Dame 30
Kentucky 30 FINAL
Florida 36
New Mexico St 24 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 42
Tennessee 10 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 34
(17) USC 31 FINAL
Boston College 37
Navy 35 FINAL
Texas State 21
(12) UCLA 20 FINAL
Texas 17
Penn State 13 FINAL
Rutgers 10
Rice 10 FINAL
(6) Texas A&M 38
(15) Arizona State 38 FINAL
Colorado 24
(24) Nebraska 55 FINAL
Fresno State 19
Nevada 28 FINAL
Arizona 35
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Montreal 16 FINAL
Edmonton 33
Toronto 33 FINAL
Calgary 40
Winnipeg 9 FINAL
Brt Columbia 26
Saskatchewan 3 FINAL
Hamilton 28

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close