Athletics break loose in seventh inning and beat Minnesota

OAKLAND — The Athletics got enough offense from some slumping hitters Tuesday night to support their pitching staff and beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 before a crowd of 3,460 at the Coliseum.

With the score tied 2-2, Seth Brown and Sean Murphy delivered the deciding blows as the A’s improved to 16-23. Minnesota, leaders in the American League Central, fell to 21-16.

Brown, who came in on a 1-for-11 streak and was hitting .163, doubled home one run and then catcher Sean Murphy, hitting .186 and without a hit in his previous 21 at-bats, punched a two-run bloop RBI single to left to score two more.

The hits came off starter and loser Josh Winder (2-2), who entered in the fourth inning for starter Dylan Bundy, who was limited to three innings coming off the COVID-19 list.

Zach Jackson, the third A’s pitcher, picked up the first win of his career in relief and evened his record at 1-1. Dany Jimenez got the last two outs of the eighth inning with two men on and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in seven opportunities.

Josh Lowrie opened the inning against Winder in the seventh and walked. Winder then hit Ramon Laureano before Brown and then Murphy came through to give the A’s a three-run lead.

Gary Sanchez and Royce Lewis hit solo home runs for Minnesota off starter James Kaprielian, the fourth for Sanchez and the second for Lewis. The A’s got a two-run home run from Kevin Smith, his second, in the fourth inning.

Kaprielian was gone after 5 1/3 innings following a home run to left field by Sanchez. In his previous at-bat against Kaprielian in the fourth, Sanchez hit two fouls to left with home run distance.

The A’s decided to let Kaprielian go out for the sixth inning to face Sanchez again. On a 1-1 pitch from Kaprielian, he managed to keep it fair and the score was tied 2-2.

Left-hander Sam Moll came on for Kaprielian, who threw 89 pitches, 64 of them strikes, with one walk and six strikeouts, and got out of the sixth inning.

Smith, who had been in an 0-for-17 funk coming in and struck out looking in his first at-bat, connected off Winder for a two-out, two-run home run in the fourth inning to put the Athletics up 2 -0.

Winder, who replaced Bundy to start the fourth, gave up the home run on a 2-2 pitch. It was Smith’s first home run since a grand slam on May 3 in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

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