Morneau ties, Capps saves Twins 5-4 win over A's
MINNEAPOLIS — Ryan Cook's remarkable run of impeccable relief for the Oakland Athletics was bound to end sometime.
The end of his 23-inning scoreless streak, however, was not well-timed.
Justin Morneau drove in two runs for Minnesota, including the tying double in the eighth inning for the Twins in a 5-4 victory over on Monday to hand the A's their season-high sixth straight loss.
"It's not really about giving up the runs," Cook said. "It's about giving up those two and losing the game."
Alex Burnett (2-0) gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki in the eighth that put the A's in front 4-3 after Jeff Gray walked back-to-back batters with one out. But Kila Ka'aihue grounded into a double play, the fourth of the game for the A's.
Then the Twins rallied in the bottom half against Cook (1-1), who entered without a run and just four hits allowed in 21 appearances this year. He hadn't been scored on since last Sept. 27, when he pitched for Arizona.
"We saw a lot of zeros up there. We had a conversation about that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Everybody should have stats, and he had none. He's a great pitcher. He has great stuff."
Joe Mauer hustled for an infield single, stole second base and scored after Josh Willingham's walk when Morneau went the opposite way for a bloop down the line with the left fielder Cowgill shifted right. Ryan Doumit followed with the go-ahead sacrifice fly.
"I think the wind kept it fair," Morneau said.
A's manager Bob Melvin said he thought Cook's command of his pitches was "a little bit spotty" but couldn't help but praise the 24-year-old rookie's performance this season.
"It's been an unbelievable run," Melvin said.
Matt Capps was booed when he took the mound but bounced back from his first blown attempt of the season the day before by striking out his final batter, Jonny Gomes, with the bases loaded in the ninth to notch his 10th save. That stopped a five-game losing streak for the Twins.
Colin Cowgill reached on a fielding error by second baseman Alexi Casilla, who let a slow roller slide right under his glove to make the inning more challenging for Capps. Jemile Weeks walked with one out. The runners moved up on a line drive by Coco Crisp that Capps dropped but picked up and threw over for the second out. Josh Reddick, who homered and tripled earlier, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Crisp left eight runners on base for the afternoon. He grounded into two of his team's four double plays.
"I'm at the point where I'm ready to boo myself. Things have to change, and I'm just going to continue to work at it," Crisp said. "Hope, pray, do some voodoo, magic, whatever it takes to get it right. Hopefully it will happen soon."
Travis Blackley made his first major league start in nearly five years, giving up just three hits, one run and one walk while striking out three in five innings for the A's. Putting the journey in journeyman, Blackley pitched in Korea last season and was claimed off waivers by the A's earlier this month. But the bullpen cost him his first win since July 1, 2004, his major league debut for Seattle.
Trevor Plouffe homered in the fifth for the Twins, and Willingham's double off Jordan Norberto in the sixth following back-to-back walks cut the lead to 3-2. Then Morneau tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
"We have a good pen, so if you can eat up five and turn the ball over to them, I'll take that 9 times out of 10," Blackley said.
Outscored 25-6 over their last five games at home, prompting manager Melvin to declare his offense was "beyond pressing," the A's — last in the American League in hitting and scoring — broke their bats out right away on this road trip.
Reddick turned on a full-count curveball in the first inning for the lead, his 10th home run this month, and scored in the sixth after a leadoff triple that would've been over the wall in many other ballparks. Ka'aihue went deep in the second, another no-doubter off Twins starter Scott Diamond.
NOTES: Reddick's 10 home runs in May are the most in one month for the A's since Frank Thomas hit 10 in Sept. 2006. ... A's RHP Brandon McCarthy (strained shoulder) threw a bullpen session before the game and is scheduled to start Saturday at Kansas City when he's eligible to come off the DL.
|JWeeks 2b||4||0||2||0||Span cf||4||0||1||0|
|Crisp cf||5||0||0||0||Mstrnn rf||3||1||0||0|
|Reddck rf||4||2||2||1||Mauer c||3||2||2||0|
|JGoms dh||3||1||0||0||Wlngh lf||3||1||1||1|
|Inge 3b||2||0||0||0||Mornea 1b||3||0||1||2|
|KSuzuk c||4||0||1||1||Doumit dh||2||0||0||1|
|Kaaihu 1b||4||1||1||1||Dozier ss||3||0||0||0|
|Cowgill lf||4||0||3||0||Plouffe 3b||4||1||1||1|
|Rosales ss||3||0||1||0||JCarrll 3b||0||0||0||0|
|S.Smith ph||1||0||0||0||ACasill 2b||2||0||0||0|
E_Blackley (1), Plouffe (4), A.Casilla (4). DP_Oakland 2, Minnesota 4. LOB_Oakland 9, Minnesota 6. 2B_Willingham (15), Morneau (8). 3B_Reddick (2). HR_Reddick (14), Ka'aihue (3), Plouffe (5). SB_Mastroianni (1), Mauer (3). CS_Cowgill (2). SF_Morneau, Doumit.
|R.Cook L,1-1 BS,1-1||1||2||2||2||2||0|
HBP_by Diamond (Inge). WP_Diamond.
Umpires_Home, Tim McClelland; First, Brian Runge; Second, Ted Barrett; Third, Marvin Hudson.
T_3:22. A_34,709 (39,500).