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Twins Break Three-Game Losing Streak; Win Opener in Oakland

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Justin Morneau asked Ron Gardenhire for a day off before the game. That might have to wait for a while.
Morneau hit a home run and drove in two runs, and Delmon Young singled in the top of the 11th inning to give the Minnesota Twins a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Morneau doubled against Andrew Bailey (0-2) to lead off the 11th. After Jason Kubel struck out, Young’s grounder down the first base line barely eluded Daric Barton.
“We’ll see if it happens,” Morneau said of taking a day. “I feel pretty good … but at the same time it’s tough to take a day off any time. I’m not really going to want to do it. I have one of the best hitters in the league in front of me (Joe Mauer) and he takes a lot of pitches.”
Matt Guerrier (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Jon Rauch pitched the 11th for his 14th save in 16 chances.
Twins starter Scott Baker went 7 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Young also drove in a run in the sixth. Kubel added an RBI single for the Twins, who ended their season-high three-game losing streak.
“Moreany has been big all year long,” Gardenhire said. “That’s why people are pushing him for the All-Star Game. It was another great night for him.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a home run and drove in two for the A’s, Rajai Davis also hit a home run and Kurt Suzuki, who had two hits, added an RBI.
Dallas Braden, winless in five starts since his perfect game on May 9, lasted 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out two.
“The pitch I want back is the double to Young,” Braden said. “I know how to pitch that guy. I made an OK pitch.”
The A’s had won seven of their previous nine home games and entered Friday with the best home ERA (2.79) in the AL.
Baker remained unbeaten in five starts against the A’s.
“We finally got to him a little bit there,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “He throws strikes. He doesn’t walk anybody.”
Morneau, who has hit safely in seven straight, hit his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot with two outs in the first that traveled well up into the right field bleachers.
“I just wish Mauer took Morneau to Cabo with him and left him there, on a fishing boat,” Braden said. “What are you going to do? Those guys are fairly good hitters.”
After Suzuki’s infield single scored a run for the A’s in the fourth, the Twins added a pair of runs in the sixth to make it 4-1. Kubel singled home a run and Young doubled home another.
Kouzmanoff, who hit a home run for the third consecutive game, a career best, made it 4-3 with his two-run shot off the facing of the second deck in left field.
Davis’ second home run of the season just cleared the fence near the left-field line in the eighth to tie the game and end Baker’s night.
Davis owns a .324 batting average (22 for 68) over his last 19 games. He’s a lifetime .328 hitter against the Twins.

NOTES

Twins INF Danny Valencia, who made his major league debut Thursday, recorded his first career stolen base, swiping second in the second. It was the first successful steal against Braden since Nick Punto did it for the Twins on Aug. 20, 2008. … A’s 1B Daric Barton doubled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. … Young has hit safely in seven of his last eight games. … A’s INF Adam Rosales made his third start at shortstop. … A’s LHP Craig Breslow struck out a career-high four batters in 1 2/3 innings. … Morneau matched Chuck Knoblauch for eighth in Twins’ history with his 210th double. … Mauer is 50-for-150 lifetime against the A’s.

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