OAKLAND, Calif. -- After falling to score a run in 14 innings on Tuesday, the Twins exploded for 10 runs on 17 hits in nine innings Wednesday, April 21, at Oakland. Still, it wasn’t enough to beat the surging Athletics.
Byron Buxton hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give Minnesota a 12-10 lead, but two infield errors allowed the A’s to score three runs in their half of the inning for a 13-12 win at Ring Central Coliseum.
The Twins have lost four straight and eight of their past nine games. Asked how his team might emerge from its slump, manager Rocco Baldelli said, “It comes down to Leadership, and leadership in the clubhouse, people setting good examples — and we have that. I think those things are going to shine through, it’s just now it doesn’t seem like it.”
Buxton jumped on a high fastball from right-hander Lou Trivino for a one-out, two-run homer in the 10th inning, but Twins reliever Alex Colome walked the bases loaded and the Twins committed two errors to lose a heartbreaker at RingCentral Coliseum.
Buxton went 3 for 6 with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Nelson Cruz homered twice and drove in four runs. But with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Colome got Ramon Laureano to ground to third baseman Luis Arraez. He fielded it cleanly, but his throw to first was high and wide, allowing the tying and winning runs to score.
Oakland rallied from a three-run, sixth-inning deficit, tying the game 10-10 on a sacrifice fly from Matt Chapman off Colome.
Josh Donaldson homered, scored three runs and drove in a pair as the Twins finally got their offense back on track. But the pitching wasn’t good, starting with starter Kenta Maeada, who struggled in his fourth start. The right-hander gave up six runs on six hits — three of them home runs — in four innings.
Matt Olson, who hit a grand slam in a 7-0 victory on Tuesday, homered twice and drove in three runs, all off Maeda.
“I couldn’t really set the tone to begin with,” Maeda said. “Had I done that, I think we could have got that ‘W.’ ”
Jorge Polanco and Willians Astudillo added RBIs for the Twins, whose struggles in California over the past week included a three-game pause because of positive COVID cases.
They played Wednesday’s game without starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and outfielders Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick, all of whom tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week.
Reliever Caleb Thielbar and infielder JT Riddle were placed on the COVID list because of close contacts.
Playing their first games since a 10-3 loss at Anaheim last Friday night, the Twins lost two seven-inning games on Tuesday, 7-0 and 1-0. They bested that lack of offense in the first inning Wednesday when Donaldson lined a Frankie Montas pitch off the stairs behind the left-field wall beyond left field for a 1-0 first-inning lead.
The Twins chased Montas after a leadoff home run by Cruz and a Buxton single to start the fifth inning. Buxton advanced to third on a single by Polanco and scored on a wild pitch by J.B. Wendelken, and Astudillo drove in Polanco with a two-out single to tie the score 7-7.
Buxton is hitting .432 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games.