by Kahlil Najar
OAKLAND – Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier spoiled the first home game for the A’s after the All Star break as the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 5-0.
Sonny Gray (10-4) started off rocky when he gave up a lead off homer to Dozier but then he went on and retired 15 of the next 17 batters, including a streak of 13 in a row.
Then came the dreaded sixth inning.
Gray started off the inning by walking Dozier on five pitches and then gave up a hard ground ball single to veteran Torii Hunter to put runners at first and second. After a quick strike out of Joe Mauer, Gray walked Miguel Sano to load the bases. Then on an 0-2 slider up in the zone Trevor Plouffe hit a grand slam to left field to give the Twins a 5-0 lead.
“It is a surprise when he gives up a home run. It really came down to two pitches where they scored all their runs,” said manager Bob Melvin. “He threw a lot of pitches in the sixth, something he normally doesn’t do.”
The A’s were able to spread out five hits during the game but the 4-5-6 hitters were held hitless tonight and went 0-12.
Ervin Santana earned his first win of the year in only his third start of the season after he served his 80-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Tomorrow the Twins will send Right-hander Phil Hughes to start the game on Saturday against the A’s Left-hander Scott Kazmir, who is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA in his last six starts.