m4406 BC-BBA-Twins-Athletics 1stLd-Writethru 04-24 0622
Big Hurt returns and helps A’s win
Eds: Athletics 11, Twins 2; UPDATES.
AP Photo OAS106
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Frank Thomas won in his return to Oakland. Rajai Davis got three hits in his Athletics debut.
With two new and familiar faces in the starting lineup, the A’s jumped on Minnesota starter Francisco Liriano for six runs in the first inning on the way to an 11-2 victory over the Twins in the rubber game Thursday.
Donnie Murphy hit solo shots in the fifth and sixth innings for his first and second homers of the season and first career multihomer game. Mike Sweeney — whose playing time will probably diminish with the addition of Thomas — had a two-run double off the wall in left in the fourth, a day after connecting for his first home run in 40 games.
Emil Brown hit a two-run single as the A’s batted around in the first and chased Liriano (0-3) after only two-thirds of an inning. Thomas drew a five-pitch walk and came around to score and Davis singled in the No. 9 hole that inning as the A’s staked starter Greg Smith (2-0) to a comfortable lead.
The Big Hurt agreed to terms with the A’s after being released Sunday by the Toronto Blue Jays and went 0-for-3 with two walks. He was back in the cleanup spot as designated hitter, which will be his regular role again for Oakland after he was a catalyst in the team’s 2006 playoff run and AL West championship.
Davis was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday and appeared in his first game, getting a single in the first, a triple in the fifth and another base hit in the sixth.
Murphy homered to left to start the fifth, Davis tripled, then Kurt Suzuki hit an RBI double to chase Brian Bass.
Liriano was done after Davis’ first single and just 35 pitches in a first inning that lasted 29 minutes. The left-hander, who is struggling mightily to command the strike zone after returning from Tommy John surgery in November 2006, allowed six runs and five hits, walked three and didn’t have a strikeout.
It was the shortest outing by a Twins starter since May 30, 2002, when Brad Radke lasted only one-third of an inning against the Angels before leaving with an injury.
Smith allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings, struck out three and walked one in his first career appearance against the Twins, helping Oakland win for the fifth time in six games.
Davis also joined the A’s and got a hit in his first at-bat, only his second of the season after batting .056 (1-for-18) in 12 games for the Giants before they designated him for assignment April 20.
Carlos Gomez hit a solo home run leading off the game for the Twins, one day after manager Ron Gardenhire sat him for the first time all season following an 0-for-5 showing.
Rookie Oakland first baseman Daric Barton got his first day out of the starting lineup all season, and Sweeney played first before Barton entered in the sixth.
Notes: A’s six-time Gold Glove 3B Eric Chavez, transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make roster room for Thomas, will join the team in Seattle and could begin doing baseball activities as he recovers from offseason back surgery. He is eligible to come off the DL on May 27. ... Oakland RHP Justin Duchscherer is slated to start Saturday against the Mariners at Safeco Field in his return from a DL stint with a strained right biceps muscle.