Minnesota Twins (51-62) at Oakland Athletics (70-44), 10:05 p.m. (ET)
08/07/2014 7:54 AM
08/08/2014 7:51 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics try to beat the Minnesota Twins for the 11th straight time on Friday when they continue a four-game series against them at O.co Coliseum.
Oakland swept the Twins back in April and has won 15 of 17 in the series. That trend continued in Thursday's opener, as Jon Lester pitched a three-hit shutout, the fourth of his career, and Oakland cruised to a 3-0 triumph.
Lester (12-7) tied a season high with 122 pitches in his second start for the A's. He was perfect through five innings, walked only two batters and struck out eight.
The left-hander is 2-0 since he was acquired along with outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and 6-0 in his last 10 starts.
A's manager Bob Melvin, who collected his 800th win, said his "heart was beating" leaving Lester in the game with 105 pitches going into the ninth.
"He's probably the only guy here I let go to 120 pitches. That was my limit. But that's why he's here," Melvin said.
Stephen Vogt hit a two-run homer for the MLB-leading A's, who have won three of their last four overall.
Yohan Pino (1-4) worked 5 2/3 innings for the Twins, who have lost two in a row after three straight wins. Pino allowed three runs on six hits and a walk.
Oakland could extend its mastery of the Twins on Friday, as they send left- hander Scott Kazmir to the hill after his first loss sine June 24. Kazmir had a rare poor showing on Sunday versus Kansas City, surrendering four runs and 10 hits in six innings to fall to 12-4 on the year to go along with a 2.53 ERA.
"One bad inning," said Kazmir. "I don't look too far into it. I know what I did wrong. It was a couple pitches that were up in the zone, and they were in hitters' counts. Something you can't do, especially to hitters like that."
Kazmir has faced the Twins 12 times and is 6-4 against them with a 3.12 ERA.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty Kyle Gibson, who has won three of his last four starts. Gibson improved to 10-8 on Sunday in Chicago, as he held the White Sox to a three runs and six hits in seven innings to lower his ERA a tick to 3.93.
Gibson has record a 0.96 ERA across his 10 wins and a 0.83 ERA when pitching at least seven innings.
"As a starter, I want to go out there and throw six, seven, eight innings every time," Gibson said.
The Twins have now lost 10 in a row in Oakland.
Join the Discussion
The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.