OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Matt Olson hit a grand slam, Mitch Moreland homered twice to back Sean Manaea’s shutout and the Athletics slugged past the depleted Minnesota Twins 7-0 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader for Oakland’s ninth straight victory.
Moreland connected for a two-run homer in the second inning and a solo drive in the fourth off Matt Shoemaker (1-1).
Manaea (2-1) allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one over seven innings, throwing 95 pitches for his second career complete game and shutout — the lefty no-hit the Red Sox at home on April 21, 2018.
This outing was right up there with his best, and Manaea has become more comfortable with his distinct pitching style.
“As much as I want to be a guy throwing 100, that’s not me,” Manaea said. “I got to utilize what I have and what I bring to the table. That’s kind of freeing in a way, just accepting who I am as a pitcher. Just utilizing what I have, and what I have is pretty good.”
Olson made it 7-0 with his fourth-inning slam through a blustery wind — and on one pitch Manaea said “I kind of felt like I was going to get blown over.”
“It really helps when guys are hitting bombs like that and getting on base and then hitting bombs just makes it even better,” Manaea said. “It makes the game a little bit easier what that’s going on.”
The A’s matched the longest winning streak in the majors this year with Boston, which won nine in a row from April 5-14. Oakland is 10-1 since starting the season 0-6.
Minnesota finally got back on the field following three postponements because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Twins’ scheduled series opener in Oakland was delayed, forcing the doubleheader. Minnesota missed games Saturday and Sunday against the Angels in Anaheim.
The Twins have had at least four positive coronavirus tests in the past week — Andrelton Simmons, Kyle Garlick, Max Kepler and a team staff member.
“We want to get out there and be safe and we want to get out there and play baseball,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Minnesota, which also spent pregame time Tuesday closely monitoring the Derek Chauvin verdict back home in the case of George Floyd’s killing last year, was eager to get back to playing baseball.
During this trying stretch, the Twins also dealt with the death of bench coach Mike Bell last month.
Baldelli called this “one of the most emotional periods of time that I’ve spent in the game, and I mean that in a pretty broad-spanning way.”
A’s fans Mike Floyd and Rodrigo Donor, both seated in section 215, secured consecutive foul balls from Stephen Piscotty in the fourth.
“That’s crazy, you don’t see that a lot,” Donor, of San Bruno, said.
“This is my first foul ball ever,” said Oakland’s Floyd.
Twins: Kepler is out with COVID-19, Baldelli said before the doubleheader. Kepler and others remain quarantined in Anaheim hotel. LHP Caleb Thielbar is there and out as a close contact. Those with positive tests are experiencing only mild symptoms, according to Baldelli.
Athletics: Oakland reinstated LHP Reymin Guduan from the injured list and he was added as the 27th man for the doubleheader. … OF Piscotty returned from the paternity list. The A’s designated OF Ka’ai Tom for assignment. “We’d like to keep him obviously but at this time there just weren’t very many at-bats for him,” manager Bob Melvin said. … LHP A.J. Puk has played catch but “hasn’t felt great yet, he’s felt some lingering stuff,” Melvin said. Puk is yet to throw off a mound as he works back from a strained biceps in his pitching arm. … RHP Mike Fiers (right hip) was set to throw for the last time with the club’s alternate site and if all goes well could be activated soon. … OF/INF Chad Pinder, sidelined by a sprained left knee, is still working to add more baseball activities.
Lefty Jesús Luzardo (0-1, 8.31 ERA) was set to start Game 2 opposite RHP José Berríos (2-1, 3.38).
On Wednesday, RHP Kenta Maeda (1-1, 3.07) pitches for Minnesota and the A’s counter with RHP Frankie Montas (2-1, 4.91).
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