Minnesota Twins Game Grades: Offense Stifled by A’s Pitching

May 14, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) talks with catcher Juan Centeno (37) during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) talks with catcher Juan Centeno (37) during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Four-game winning streak ends as Minnesota Twins fall to A’s

It seems to be an unfortunate trend for the Minnesota Twins (15-35). Either the offense does well and the pitching struggles or vice versa.

On Monday, both aspects performed well, perhaps good enough to win but ultimately both fell short as the Oakland A’s (23-29) ended the Twins’ four-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory.

It was a pitcher’s duel between two teams that have struggled in that category. For the Twins, Ervin Santana went seven solid innings, allowing three earned runs – with one run being a tough luck run – while striking out five.

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For Oakland, it was Kendall Graveman who entered the game with a 5.36 ERA. But judging by the way Graveman pitched, that ERA seemed to be a bit of a fluke.

Graveman held the Twins in check going six innings, allowing two runs while striking out five.

Offensively, there weren’t too many fireworks. Coco Crisp led off the game with a home run to give Oakland a 1-0 lead.

The Twins quickly tied things up off an RBI single by Juan Centeno and soon took a 2-1 lead off a sacrifice fly by Brian Dozier.

That lead wouldn’t last long as Marcus Semien drove in Yonder Alonso with an RBI double in the fifth.

The A’s would take the final lead when Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give Oakland a 3-2 lead.

Jed Lowrie scored the game-winning run, which was set up by a double off the bat of Stephen Vogt. The ball was crushed to center but was up in the air long enough that Danny Santana could have made a play on it.

It did seem as though Santana lost the ball in the sun as he took a few stutter steps back. That allowed Lowrie to go from first to third with no outs and ultimately come across to score following the sac fly.

The Twins last great chance to tie things up came in the seventh when there were runners on second and third with one out.

Brian Dozier struck out and then Joe Mauer lined out to Alonso at first base who made a magnificent play and save the game for the A’s.

2. Final. 3. 96. 2

Team Totals: 8 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts, 0 home runs. Centeno continues to hit well since his call-up a few weeks back. The catcher went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ever since joining the team, he has given the Twins some strong production from the catching position, something the team has lacked significantly over the past few seasons. The Twins were hitting the ball well with a few players putting up multi-hit games but the team failed to get that many runs across the plate. Perhaps the most telling at-bat of the game was Joe Mauer’s lineout to Yonder Alonso in the seventh inning that ended a threat that began with two Twins on and no outs. Mauer smashed the ball to the right side of the infield but Alonso made a terrific diving catch to his right to rob the Twins. The Twins had eight hits as a team but not one of them went for extra bases. . . Juan Centeno. OFFENSE . B-

. Ervin Santana. STARTERS . B+. Team totals: 7 hits allowed, 2 walks, 3 earned runs and 5 strikeouts. Santana allowed three earned runs with the third run following a misplayed ball by Danny Santana in centerfield that was ultimately ruled a hit. A tough hit to give up that allowed Jed Lowrie to move from first to third with no outs. Santana worked out of it and pitched well overall, rebounding from a disastrous start against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. It was really a tough luck start for Santana but a quality start the Twins desperately needed from someone not named Tyler Duffey or Pat Dean as of late.

A. Team totals: 7 hits allowed, 3 walks, 0 home runs and 6 strikeouts. Rogers walked Coco Crisp, who was thrown out trying to steal second, and followed that up with a pair of strikeouts to retire the side. Overall, a very strong outing for Rogers who is becoming a key component of the Twins pen.. . Taylor Rogers. RELIEVERS

B. It may have been a pretty routine play but Centeno made a very strong throw to second base in the eighth that caught Coco Crisp stealing. Sure it was a smaller commitment but with Kurt Suzuki’s struggle to throw out base stealers over the past few seasons, it’s nice to see the Twins field a catcher with a strong arm. Overall, it was a tough time for both teams as the sun and wind both made things difficult. Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana were both hurt by misplayed balls, with the latter perhaps losing a ball in the sun and allowing the A’s to get the go-ahead run to third. That runner eventually came around to score.. . Juan Centeno. DEFENSE

Next: Twins Ups and Downs

MVT: Ervin Santana

The Twins will try to spark another winning streak on Tuesday when they take on the A’s in Game Two of the series. Tyler Duffey (2-3, 3.93) will be on the mound for the Twins and will face Eric Surkamp (0-3, 6.55). Hopefully the Twins will be able to turn around the negative trend that has cursed them this season. The team has yet to win a series following a Game One loss this season. First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 CST at Oakland Coliseum.