OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Stephen Piscotty scored on Trevor Hildenberger’s wild pitch in the ninth inning, and the Oakland Athletics cut their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to one with their second straight walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins, 3-2 on Saturday night.
Marcus Semien homered for Oakland, which opened a 7½-game lead over Tampa Bay for the AL’s second wild card. The A’s trail AL West-leading Houston by 3½ games and are 1½ games behind the New York Yankees, who clinched the first wild card earlier Saturday.
Oakland won Friday on Khris Davis’ 10th-inning homer and took the first two games of the series against the Twins despite going hitless in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including 10 on Saturday.
Seeking their first playoff appearance since losing to Kansas City in the 2014 wild-card game, the A’s (94-61) moved 33 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 24, 2003. Oakland is 60-25 since mid-June.
Piscotty doubled off Hildenberger (4-5) leading off the ninth, Ramon Laureano struck out, Semien reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jorge Polanco and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce was intentionally walked.
With the Twins utilizing a five-man infield, Mark Canha struck out in an 11-pitch at-bat. After Minnesota resumed a more normal defense, Hildenberger skipped a fastball past catcher Willians Astudillo, and Piscotty slid home ahead of Astudillo’s throw.
Blake Treinen (9-2) retired three batters.
Je Mauer hit a sacrifice fly in the third off Mike Fiers, but Semien hit a two-run homer against Chase De Jong in the fifth. Astudillo had a tying single off Jeurys Familia in the sixth.
Astudillo had three hits for Minnesota, which has tied the team record of 15 walk-off losses, set in 1964.
Twins: C Juan Graterol’s contract was selected from Triple-A Rochester. RHP Ervin Santana was transferred to the 60-day DL.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano (lower left leg bruise) had an MRI that was inconclusive. Sano has played in one game since Sept. 4. … 2B Logan Forsythe (knee inflammation) was held out of the lineup.
The A’s plan to start RHP Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.77) for the first time since Sept. 9 in the series finale Sunday. Cahill has been out with a back strain after making his 19th start, his most since 2013. RHP Kyle Gibson (8-13, 3.78) starts for the Twins after allowing five runs and 11 hits in his last outing.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.