The outfield seats crouch over the grass at Target Field in Minneapolis. The look makes home run balls look like whistling balls when they clink around the second decks and onto the street.
The Oakland A’s took advantage of the spectacle and scored four long home races in the A’s 6-1 victory to open a series of three games against the twins on Friday American League West. Hitting home runs in Minnesota may look cool, but the A’s get them everywhere.
Murphy has hit the second deck for his fifth home run of the year. His split home run came two innings after Ramón Laureano’s solo home run in the third inning, his eighth of the year – he also traveled to the second deck, 407 feet.
Stephen Piscotty’s win against Minnesota’s Matt Shoemaker, which came on Friday, followed suit. He hit a home run of his in the sixth, a two-run shot to extend the A’s lead to 5-0. Mark Canha, who was out of the line-up for a day off, hit a pinch of homerun from Twins reliever Derek Law in game eight.
The power surge ended a three-game drought with no home runs and raised the A to 51 home runs, linking them to the New York Yankees for second place in the American League, a home run behind the Toronto Blue Jays.
Frankie Montas continues his hot streak: Montas only allowed Josh Donaldson to run home for his third win in a row. He crossed through six innings, giving up four hits with four strokes and a walk.
This Twins line-up shattered Montas when he started against him on April 21, marking him for six runs in four innings. But Montas had no command of his four-seater, a key game against right-handers or a good breaking ball. Back in command of his fastball with four seams, Montas was aggressive in the zone on Friday against the strong line-up of the twins.
« I attacked more with my fastball and I missed my pitches just to get my clubs off my fastball, » said Montas. “That allows me not to let bats sit on the fastball.
Catcher Murphy, who worked behind the bowl, said a key to that start was « getting back to Frankie’s strengths » to hitting the strike zone and putting pressure on the punch to get his 97-mile sinker and four-seater hold true. Its splinter and slide are effective when the sinker and four-seam are on.
Montas ran into trouble in the third inning when Twins’ back-to-back singles put the no-outs runners in first and second place. Matt Chapman swallowed Donaldson’s sharp ground ball against the shift to the left, sprinted to third place, and ended the 5-3 double game to help Montas through a goalless inning. A fourth inning with seven pitches made up for the 56 pitches he threw in his first three innings.
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Bullpen Attempt: Burch Smith allowed a few hits in his inning of relief but escaped the jam in a clean inning and strikeout on a high fastball. Yusmeiro Petit competed for the 20th time this season. He has now played half of the A’s 40 games. He leads the team in appearances and ranks second in baseball behind Giants’ Tyler Rogers (22). Petit threw a perfect eighth inning, lowering his ERA to .79. Lou Trivino threw a goalless ninth place despite skipping a double walk.
Chad Pinder took a stroll in his first stroke since the first week of the season, a pinch stroke in the ninth inning.
Mitch Moreland has been removed from the game with Tightness on the left. Canha took his place in the line-up. « It was pretty cool out there so I didn’t mean to attack him and maybe it’s worse, » said manager Bob Melvin. « We’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow. »
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