OAKLAND, Calif.--The Oakland A's no doubt would have preferred a ho-hum victory Friday night against the Minnesota Twins. In the end, they were content just to get a win of any kind after they nearly squandered a six-run lead.
The A's held on for a 6-5 victory, thanks to a strong effort by their bullpen in relief of starter Scott Kazmir.
The A's led 6-0 after six innings, with Kazmir having allowed only one hit and faced the minimum 18 batters.
By the time Kazmir departed with two outs in the seventh, the Twins had cut the lead to 6-4. They tacked on another run after Ryan Cook relieved Kazmir, though the run was charged to Kazmir.
Cook, Luke Gregerson and closer Sean Doolittle shut down the Twins the rest of the way as the A's beat the Twins for the second straight night. Kazmir won for the 13th time this season.
The A's improved to 71-44 with the win. This marks the first time they have been 27 games over .500 this season. They failed in their previous three attempts to win once they reached 26 games over .500.
Kazmir breezed through the first four innings without allowing a base runner. His perfect game ended when Kennys Vargas led off the fifth with a single off the glove of shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Kazmir went right back to work after Vargas' single and escaped the inning on a nifty double play turned in by third baseman Josh Donaldson and second baseman Eric Sogard.
The A's finally broke through off Kyle Gibson in the bottom of the fifth after they managed only two hits the first four innings.
Stephen Vogt started the rally with a leadoff walk. Sam Fuld reached on a bunt single, with Vogt and Fuld moving up a base on a throwing error by first baseman Chris Parmelee.
Eric Sogard followed with a walk, setting the table for Coco Crisp. A short time later, Crisp delivered a bases-clearing triple.
Crisp scored on a passed ball by Suzuki to make it 4-0.
Sogard extended the A's lead to 6-0 with a two-run double in the sixth.
The Twins got to Kazmir in the seventh, with two singles sandwiched around a walk. Trevor Plouffe's single plated Danny Santana for the Twins' first run of the series.
Until that point, the Twins went 15 innings without a run against the A's and 19 overall.
Oswaldo Arcia added a run-scoring single and Chris Parmelee a two-run double to make it 6-4. Ryan Cook replaced Kazmir with two outs, and he promptly allowed an RBI double to Eduardo Nunez.
Just like that, what seemed like a laugher for the A's turned into a nail-biter. Josh Reddick came close to giving the A's some breathing room in the seventh, but his deep drive got caught just in front of the right-field wall for the final out. Josh Donaldson would have scored from second with no problem.
Gregerson executed his job to perfection when he retired all three Twins he faced in the eighth. Doolittle closed out the victory for his 18th save, the most in franchise history for a left-hander.
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