Twins Earn 4-Game Sweep of Reeling A's

Monday, July 16th 2007, 7:35 am
By: News On 6

The Minnesota Twins are finding their form from last season when they made an unlikely playoff run. Second-half success for the Oakland A's, meanwhile, has yet to be found.

Joe Mauer singled home the winning run in the ninth inning after Justin Morneau hit a tying homer in the eighth, and the Twins completed a four-game sweep of the slumping Athletics with a 4-3 victory Sunday.

``It's kind of feelings of last year at this time,'' Minnesota third baseman Nick Punto said. ``Guys were coming up with big hits with a guy on base, and I kind of see signs of last year. Hopefully we can get on some kind of roll like we did last year.''

Eric Chavez homered for the A's, who have lost seven in a row _ their longest skid since also dropping seven straight in late May last season. They have scored three runs or fewer in 10 consecutive games, matching a team record set in September 1978.

In other AL games on Sunday, it was: Cleveland 5, Kansas City 3; Baltimore 5, Chicago 3; New York 7, Tampa Bay 6; Toronto 2, Boston 1; Minnesota 4, Oakland 3; Texas 5, Los Angeles 4 in 11 innings; and Detroit 11, Seattle 7.

Luis Castillo led off the ninth with a triple against reliever Joe Kennedy (2-8) and trotted home on Mauer's third hit of the game, which bounced through a drawn-in infield.

Castillo, who normally rests his aching legs on day games after night games, dashed around the bases to set up the winning run.

Morneau tied the score at 3 with his 25th home run, a shot into the right-field upper deck off reliever Santiago Casilla. Minnesota earned its fifth series sweep this season and first four-game sweep since taking four in a row against Kansas City from Aug. 3-6, 2006.

The Twins hope to show the rest of the AL that they're capable of turning it on the way they did last season. Minnesota won 71 of its final 104 games in 2006 and captured the AL Central crown on the season's final day.

``These guys are rejuvenated, ready to go,'' All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter said. ``We know what we did last year. We can kind of build off of that.''

Pat Neshek (4-1) worked one inning of relief for the win, striking out two.

Tigers 11, Mariners 7

Justin Verlander earned his 11th win and Marcus Thames hit a three-run homer off Jeff Weaver, helping Detroit gain a four-game split with host Seattle in an entertaining series between surging teams.

Verlander (11-3) allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings, reaching 100 mph with his overpowering fastball.

Weaver (2-7), who beat Detroit to clinch the World Series title for St. Louis last year, gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings. He was 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his previous six starts.

Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1

Jesse Litsch held Boston to one run in 6 2-3 innings, and Lyle Overbay had three hits off All-Star game winner Josh Beckett to lead Toronto past host Boston.

A 22-year-old rookie making his sixth career start, Litsch (2-3) allowed nine hits and a walk while striking out two. Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth for his 12th save.

Beckett (12-3) yielded two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out eight over eight innings in his first start since earning a win with two scoreless innings in the All-Star game.

Yankees 7, Devil Rays 6

Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer, Andy Phillips snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single and visiting New York rallied past Tampa Bay to climb above .500 for the first time in more than three weeks.

New York (45-44) moved above .500 for the first time since June 22.

Robinson Cano made it 5-all in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Casey Fossum (5-8), and Jeter put the Yankees up 7-5 with an RBI infield single later in the inning.

Luis Vizcaino (5-2) retired the only batter he faced and got the win.

Indians 5, Royals 3

Travis Hafner had three hits, including a long two-run homer, to help Fausto Carmona and host Cleveland defeat Kansas City.

Carmona (11-4) improved to 8-0 with a 1.98 ERA in nine daytime starts. The Indians improved baseball's best home record to 33-13 with their seventh victory in eight games at Jacobs Field.

Hafner's 15th homer after a walk to Victor Martinez made it 2-0 in the first inning against Jorge De La Rosa (7-10).

Rangers 5, Angels 4, 11 innings

Mark Teixeira homered leading off the 11th inning and had an RBI double in the eighth, leading Texas to a victory over host Los Angeles.

Justin Speier (0-1) came on in the 11th and allowed Teixeira's 13th homer on a 3-2 pitch _ less than 24 hours after striking out the side in his first game off the disabled list.

C.J. Wilson (1-1) got one out for the win and Eric Gagne earned his 13th save in 14 attempts.

Orioles 5, White Sox 3

Brian Roberts and Corey Patterson homered, Garrett Olson earned his first major league win and host Baltimore handed Chicago's Jose Contreras his AL-high 11th loss.

Jermaine Dye homered twice for Chicago.

Olson (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in five-plus innings.

Contreras (5-11) gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings. The five-year veteran has lost four straight decisions for the first time in his career, and is 1-7 with a 6.92 ERA in his past nine starts.