Chapman, Lowrie power A’s past Twins, 6-2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Matt Chapman continued his torrid second-half hitting with a pair of solo homers to help Oakland to another series victory, sending the Athletics to Houston for three crucial games with the first-place Astros.
Jed Lowrie drove in three runs with a homer and double, and the Athletics’ bullpen preserved an effective outing by call-up Chris Bassitt for a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Chapman homered in the first and then opened the seventh with his 20th homer. Lowrie followed with his 21st homer to put Oakland up 6-2.
Oakland, 17-1-2 in series play since June 15, maintained at least a four-game advantage for the second wild card spot over Seattle, playing later at Arizona. The A’s entered 1½ games behind the Astros in the A.L West, and open a three-game series Monday in Houston, the final time the teams meet this season.
“It’s the last time we play each other head-to-head and we’re neck-and-neck for first place in the division, so I’m assuming it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Chapman said. “Everybody here and on their team knows what this series, but you’ve got to treat it like one game. You can’t get out of character, but I’m excited.”
Chapman, in his first full season with the A’s, is hitting .348 since the All-Star break with 27 extra-base hits over that span tops in the majors.
Tyler Austin, acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline in a deal for pitcher Lance Lynn, had two solo homers, giving him six with the Twins and 14 on the season. Austin had a pair of two-homer games this season with New York.
Bassitt, called up Sunday from Triple-A Nashville for the sixth time this season, allowed one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Ryan Buchter (3-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the victory.
“Today was definitely, chalk it up as one of those starts that you don’t have anything and you’ve just got to make a couple pitches when they count and hopefully go as far as you can,” Bassitt said.
The A’s improved to 56-0 when leading after seven innings, the only team in the majors that has not lost when leading after seven.
Jose Berrios (11-9) allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings. Twins manager Paul Molitor said Berrios was battling a stomach illness.
“You can’t do anything about it. That’s the unfortunate part. His day comes up, and that’s the one day where he’s not feeling his normal self,” Molitor said. “It happened to be a day game too, which has been a little bit of a stickler for him. We’re not sure what the solution there is, if there’s really something there to address.”
Stephen Piscotty’s 18th homer put the A’s up 4-1 in the sixth. Austin answered in the bottom half off Yusmerio Petit.
Lowrie put the A’s in front 3-1 with a two-run double in the fifth. Nick Martini and Chapman opened with consecutive singles. Lowrie followed with a drive high off the right-field wall, but was thrown out at third trying for a triple.
The Twins threatened in the bottom half when Logan Forsythe was hit by a pitch with two outs and Jorge Polanco singled, but Miguel Sano was retired on a hard-hit liner to left.
Chapman staked Oakland to a 1-0 lead in the first with his 19th homer, a one-out solo shot down the left-field line.
Austin brought the Twins even in the fourth with his 13th homer, a 451-foot blast to straightaway center.
“I’m just looking to compete and have good at-bats every single day, and hopefully good things will happen,” said Austin, hitting .333 with five multi-hit games since joining the Twins.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Joe Mauer grounded out to open the bottom of the first on a long throw from deep in the hole by shortstop Marcus Semien. The Twins challenged and the call was overturned after a review of 58 seconds, giving Mauer a single.
Jed Lowrie was thrown out at third in the fifth-inning trying to stretch a two-run double off the right-field wall into a triple. The A’s challenged, but the call was upheld after a review estimated at 1 minute, 24 seconds.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea was placed on the 10-day DL (left shoulder impingement) on Sunday. Manaea is 12-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 27 starts this season. RHP Emilio Pagan was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Pagan had been sent down earlier in the day when RHP Chris Bassitt was recalled to start Sunday’s game against the Twins. “He played catch today and after like five throws, needed to shut it down,” Melvin said of Manaea. “Just overall didn’t feel great and we certainly didn’t want to push it where we are in the season.” Manaea is scheduled to be examined Monday, Melvin said.
Twins: SS Jorge Polanco left after five innings with leg cramps and tightness. . OF Byron Buxton (left wrist strain) continues to progress on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester. Buxton had one hit in three at-bats Saturday, after going 0-for-4 on Friday, and was expected to play Sunday. “Last night, he got a hit, got a double, chased some off-speed pitches, got hit by a pitch and threw a guy out at the plate,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s playing and I think that’s what we’re looking for. Today will be his third consecutive game down there.”
Athletics: Left-hander Brett Anderson (3-3, 3.47) opens the three-game series Monday at Houston with an extra day’s rest. Anderson is 3-1 with a 2.11 ERA in eight starts since coming off the DL. Opponents are batting just .218 since his return.
Twins: After an off day Monday, right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-10, 3.63) opens the three-game series at Cleveland. After two consecutive victories in which he pitched seven innings each time, Gibson allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, but only four of the runs were earned. He is 3-8 with a 5.28 in his career against the Indians.