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Twins Do Extra Work In 4-3 Victory Over Oakland

The Minnesota Twins got their second consecutive win on Wednesday night, as they went ten innings to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at the Coliseum. The victory is the second straight for the team after snapping their nine-game losing streak on Tuesday night in Seattle.

The Twins got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Justin Morneau brought Jason Kubel home with a two-out single to center. The Athletics struck back in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead. Carl Pavano quickly recorded the first two outs of the inning, but Ryan Sweeney reached on an infield single, and a throwing error by Trevor Plouffe on Mark Ellis' ground ball gave the Athletics runners on second and third when the inning should have been over. Kevin Kouzmanoff made the Twins pay for Plouffe's error, singling to left to bring home both Sweeney and Ellis.

The Twins got those two runs back in the top of the third, however, as Alexi Casilla singled to center to lead off the inning, and Denard Span followed with another single, taking second on the throw in from the outfield. Plouffe then came to the plate and singled to center to bring both Casilla and Span around, and the Twins took the lead back, 3-2. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth, when Daric Barton led off the inning with a double and scored on Hideki Matsui's single.

The score remained that way through regulation, but not without some excitement. After Glen Perkins pitched 1.1 innings in relief of Pavano, Joe Nathan entered the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Nathan immediately gave up a double to Kurt Suzuki, and the team eventually walked Sweeney to get to Mark Ellis. Nathan got behind Ellis 3-0, but came all the way back to strike Ellis out looking with a nasty curveball. Nathan then got pinch-hitter Conor Jackson to ground into a fielder's choice, and the inning came to an end.

The Twins started the top of the tenth by having Delmon Young pinch-hit for Drew Butera, and Young came through with a solid single to right center. Alexi Casilla came up and attempted to sacrifice Young to second base, but Barton fielded the ball and, in an attempt to turn the double play, threw the ball into center field, allowing Young to advance to third while Casilla took second. After Denard Span grounded out to Barton at first, Plouffe came up and lifted a fly ball to right field deep enough for Young to score, and the Twins took the lead 4-3. That's how it ended, as Matt Capps came in and pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth for the save.

Nathan was credited with the victory for Minnesota, his first of the year to even his record at 1-1. Capps' save was his seventh of the season. Former Twin Brian Fuentes took the loss, as he was the Oakland pitcher in the tenth inning when the Twins took the lead. His record on the season is now 1-4.

Same two teams will get together on Thursday afternoon, with first pitch from Oakland scheduled for 2:35 PM Central time. The Twins will send right-hander Nick Blackburn (2-4, 3.70 ERA) to the mound, and the Athletics will counter with righty Tyson Ross (3-2, 2.50 ERA).

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.