May 5: Oakland 7, Minnesota 1
The Twins have had the best combo of one and two starters in the league in Walter Johnson and Johan Santana. But their third through fifth starters…not so much. Oakland was fortunate to avoid both Johnson and Santana on this trip to Minny. The starts by Twins Camilo Pascual, Bert Blyleven, and Jim Shaw ranged from bad to worse.
In the first game, Pascual got pounded for seven runs in a little over four innings. Rickey Henderson led off the game with his fourth dong. Firpo Marberry put up goose-eggs for the rest of the game once he relieved Pascual, but it didn’t matter much as Tim Hudson carved up the Twinkie offense. The Twins rather rudely pushed a run across in the ninth to spoil a Hudson shutout, but Hudson still found himself with a sparkling 2.00 ERA after the game, second in the league (sandwiched between Johnson and Santana).
R H BB OAK 130 120 000 - 7 8 5 MN 000 000 001 - 1 3 6 HR: R. Henderson (4), D. Murphy (2) starters IP R ER HR BB SO T. Hudson 9.0 1 1 0 6 1 C. Pascual 4.1 7 7 2 4 2 OAK 17-11, MN 15-13
May 6: Oakland 6, Minnesota 2
Bert Blyleven’s six innings and five allowed was as good as it got for Twins starters. The Twins helped Chief Bender polish up his ERA as well (3.08). Bender allowed two runs on four singles in the first inning, but shut the door for the next seven innings, and Rollie Fingers threw a perfect ninth.
R H BB OAK 300 101 001 - 6 8 7 MN 200 000 000 - 2 9 2 HR: R. Jackson (6) starters IP R ER HR BB SO C. Bender 8 2 2 0 2 7 B. Blyleven 6 5 5 1 6 6 OAK 18-11, MN 15-14
May 7: Oakland 9, Minnesota 8
Jim Shaw was then dreadful as five of the first six Oakland batters came around to score in the first inning. But Barry Zito seemed to think the gauntlet had been thrown down for who could make the worst start of the series and had all six of the first Twins batters score. He was out of the game before recording an out. After those horrendous starts in which Shaw and Zito allowed a combined 11 runs in one-third of an inning, it was actually a decent game. Eddie Rommel was good in long relief, holding the Twins to two more runs in his seven innings. Dutch Leonard was just OK in a similar role, allowing four Oakland runs in six innings, which was just enough for Oakland to squeak back ahead for a lead they held on to.
Minnesota’s Mickey Vernon continued his torrid start to the season with a 3-for-4 and two doubles game. Oakland’s Home Run Baker had a fine series, including a triple in each game that propelled him to the league lead with six triples on the season.
The A’s have spread out a hot offense between lots of players. Jason Giambi, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Mickey Cochrane, Home Run Baker, and Eddie Collins all have wOBAs between .363-.398.
R H BB OAK 501 001 200 - 9 14 5 MN 600 020 000 - 8 13 3 HR: J. Foxx (6), H. Killebrew (2) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Zito 0.0 6 6 1 2 0 J. Shaw 0.1 5 5 0 2 0 OAK 19-11, MN 15-15