OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Yonder Alonso blames a bad month on him trying to do too much.
The Athletics’ All-Star first baseman is trying a new approach, and it seems to be working.
Alonso homered in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
“I think for me it was just coming back to the basics, making sure I was getting good pitches to hit, making sure that I was using the whole field and at the end of the day just making sure I get a good pitch,” Alonso said. “I’ve got to get a strike.”
Alonso’s 22nd homer of the season came on the first pitch he saw from Tyler Duffey (0-3) and was his second game-ending home run of his career.
Oakland, which won its second straight after a six-game skid, came in tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the major league lead with eight game-ending hits.
“Our fans have a lot to do with it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, noting his team made dramatic comeback wins a trademark his first year with the team in 2012. “Once you get a few of them … you have a good feeling about it happening again once we get into the dugout and have a chance to win.”
Josh Smith (1-0) pitched two innings to pick up the win. He was among six A’s relievers who combined for 8 1/3 innings for shutout ball in relief of Jharel Cotton, who gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings, his shortest career start.
The Twins lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 1-5 on a disastrous West Coast road trip in which they’ve blown leads in every game.
They lost on game-ending hits for the fourth time this season and the third time on the road trip.
“Today’s game kind of mirrored some of the other ones on this trip,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We did a fairly decent job early in the game pitching and putting some runs on the board, but we got a little stagnant offensively. What we’ve been doing too much of is letting these teams hang around. We had a chance to increase the lead and (did) not take advantage.”
Bartolo Colon pitched 6 1/3 solid innings in his third start for the Twins, who signed the 44-year-old right-hander after he was released by the Atlanta Braves earlier this month. He gave up three runs and eight hits with one walk and struck out one against his former team. He threw 95 pitches, 69 for strikes.
Colon pitched for Oakland in 2012-13, winning 18 games in ’13 after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test the previous year. He left to a strong ovation from the crowd of 16,790.
“I felt good. I felt like this is one of my second homes,” Colon said. “I felt good out there and I felt it went well.”
“Unless we bring him back, he’ll go down as one of the few undefeated pitchers in Twins history,” Molitor on trading Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees six days after acquiring the lefty starter from the Atlanta Braves.
Athletics: Early reports on RHP Kendall Graveman’s rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville are good, but manager Bob Melvin said the A’s haven’t made a decision on when they’ll activate the 26-year-old. Graveman has been out since May 26 with a right shoulder strain. “We haven’t made a definitive decision yet, but there’s at least a decent chance that his next start will be here with us,” Melvin said.
Twins: After a day off, RHP Jose Berrios (9-4, 3.76 ERA) will make his first career start against the San Diego Padres in Tuesday’s series opener.
Athletics: If he doesn’t move in a deadline trade, RHP Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43) is scheduled to pitch Monday’s Bay Bridge Series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
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