The Minnesota Twins played in their sixth consecutive one-run game on Saturday night at Target Field, and just couldn't muster enough offense to scratch it out as they lost to the Oakland Athletics by a score of 1-0.
Nick Blackburn (1-1, 0.77) pitched six outstanding innings, scattering five hits and allowing just one run, which was unearned. The Oakland tally came in the top of the sixth inning, and all the damage came with two outs. Blackburn struck out Josh Willingham and induced a ground out to second from Hideki Matsui to register two quick outs. Kurt Suzuki then singled to left, and took second on a wild pitch by Blackburn. Mark Ellis then hit a grounder to shortstop Alexi Casilla, who threw wildly to Justin Morneau at first, and Morneau couldn't bring it in. Suzuki scored on the error, and the Athletics had gotten themselves what turned out to be the only run of the ball game.
The Twins had one real, golden opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Danny Valencia led off with a single off of A's left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-0, 0.69), and Luke Hughes followed up with another base hit, allowing Valencia to advance to third. Casilla then tapped out to the pitcher, and while Hughes advanced to second, Valencia was forced to stay at third. Gonzalez then got Denard Span to pop out to the shortstop, and got Joe Mauer to ground out to second to squelch the threat.
Minnesota never really threatened after that, as they only got three more baserunners the rest of the game, none of whom advanced farther than second base.
The Twins' record drops to 3-5, and they're 3-3 in their last six, all of which have been decided by one run. With their victory, the Athletics now have the same 3-5 mark.
The rubber game of the series will take place tomorrow at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time. The Athletics will send right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 4.50 ERA) to the mound, while the Twins will counter with right-hander Scott Baker (0-1, 6.00).