Pinch-hitter Larnach delivers tiebreaking RBI double to send Twins past Athletics
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach broke an eighth-inning tie with an RBI double and the Minnesota Twins rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-4 on Wednesday night.
After Max Kepler opened the eighth with his fourth hit of the game, Larnach sent a 1-1 pitch from Dany Jiménez off the wall in right field that evaded a leaping Esteury Ruiz. Pinch-runner Andrew Stevenson scored from first. Designated hitter Ryan Jeffers, who hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth, followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Larnach and Minnesota won for the sixth time in seven games.
It was the 41st come-from-behind win of the season for the AL Central-champion Twins (85-73).
“That’s a pretty sweet moment for him and for us,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said of Larnach. “In that inning, we had some interesting things going on. We take Kep out of the game. Normally, we’re not going to take Kep out of the game. But when you have a chance to get him out, he’s got four hits, put in a very good baserunner to do some things and then we get to hit Larnach in a good spot for him and he took advantage.”
The loss dropped the Athletics to 48-110, and Oakland became the first team to lose 110 games since Arizona and Baltimore in 2021. Also, it is the highest number of losses for the A's since the 1916 Philadelphia A’s set a franchise record by going 36-117.
Minnesota's Dallas Keuchel (2-1) worked 1 2/3 innings of relief and earned the win. Griffin Jax stranded a pair of runners in the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the season.
Jiménez (0-2) allowed two runs on two hits in his inning of work for Oakland, which has lost 11 of 13 games.
Former Minnesota outfielder Brent Rooker drove in two runs, including an RBI single in the fifth, to put the Athletics ahead 3-2. Oakland had trailed 2-0 early against Twins starter Pablo López.
Minnesota’s comeback prevented Oakland rookie Joey Estes from earning his first major league victory in his second career appearance. He started for the A’s and allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“I think he got some swing and miss on the fastball in the first outing," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said of Estes. “Tonight, he got swings and misses on all of his stuff, which is a great sign. This kid is a competitor. You can see the way he’s out on the mound. He’s got a presence about him.”
Rookie Edouard Julien led off the bottom of the first with his 15th homer of the season for the Twins.
López went 4 1/3 innings in a planned shorter outing in his final start of the regular season. The 27-year-old right-hander will start the first game of the playoffs for the Twins.
After coming over in the offseason in a trade with Miami for Luis Arraez, López finishes his season with a career-high 234 strikeouts, which is second in the AL to Toronto's Kevin Gausman (237) and the most in a season for Minnesota since Johan Santana had 235 in 2007.
“After I struggled early in my career to have a full, lengthy season, I’m really happy that I’ve been able to do so in back-to-back years,” López said. “Really important to me to do it in my first year with the Twins.”
Twins: The team hosted a simulated game at Target Field on Wednesday morning with several injured players participating in hopes they’ll be ready for the playoffs. Royce Lewis (left hamstring strain), Carlos Correa (plantar fasciitis), Byron Buxton (right hamstring strain) and Joey Gallo (left foot contusion) all took part.
RHP Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.80 ERA) will start the final home game of the regular season for Minnesota on Thursday afternoon, with Oakland starting RHP Luis Medina (3-10, 5.64). Gray, who is second in the AL in ERA behind New York’s Gerrit Cole (2.63), will start the second game of the playoffs. Medina will be making his final start of his first season in the majors and hasn’t earned a win since July 18.
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