OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brian Dozier came frustratingly close to getting the Minnesota Twins on the board against Oakland starter Jon Lester on Thursday night.
Dozier’s hit a ball in the sixth inning that just curved foul over the left field fence that would have tied the game. Instead he walked and the Twins could not muster much against Lester, who pitched a three-hitter for his fourth career shutout, and the Athletics beat Minnesota 3-0.
“Off the bat I thought it was pretty much a home run,” Dozier said. “I didn’t think it would get anywhere near the foul pole.”
Lester (12-7) was perfect after five innings. Former Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single and Chris Colabello followed with another single to set up the Twins best chance to score.
“We had a couple of chances, but he made pitches when he had to and got out of situations,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He has all the pitches. He can do all those things.”
After Lester struck out Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana, Dozier drilled a ball that just went foul. He drew a walk to load the bases but Trevor Plouffe grounded out to third base to end the threat.
Yohan Pino (1-4) didn’t make many mistakes, giving up a two-run homer to Stephen Vogt in the third and a run-scoring double to Derek Norris in the fourth, but it was enough to sink the 30-year-old.
“They were aggressive,” Pino said. “I was trying to throw the first pitch for strikes and they were swinging at it. I missed a couple of pitches in one inning. I feel I can do better.”
Pino allowed six hits 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander struck out two and is winless in his last four starts.
“He hung in there,” Gardenhire said. “He had to make some adjustments when they started hitting his first pitch.”
Oswaldo Arcia had the other hit for Minnesota, which has lost 10 straight to Oakland. He singled with two outs in the seventh.
A’s manager Bob Melvin became the eighth active manager in the majors and 76th overall to reach 800 career victories.
First baseman Joe Mauer (strained right oblique) was given the day off after going 1-for-6 in his first two rehab starts with Single-A Cedar Rapids. There still is no timetable for Mauer’s return to the big league club.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-8) has pitched extremely well against the AL West, winning four of six starts this season while crafting a 2.50 ERA. He gets the ball Friday night against the A’s.
Dozier felt he hit the ball well enough that it would say fair by several feet. When it has signaled foul, he was in disbelief.
“Even when it landed I still thought it was fair,” he said. “I guess the wind took it straight left. You go from a very high to a very low in a short time. It’s frustrating.”
ON THE MEND
Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco (elbow) is expected to make his second rehab start on Sunday with Cedar Rapids against Kane County. Provided he comes out of that start OK, he could return to the Twins’ rotation for their Aug. 15 game against the Kansas City Royals.
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