Twins 6, Athletics 5


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Justin Morneau hit his second homer in as many nights and Torii Hunter had two hits and a home run to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Tony Batista added three hits and an RBI for the Twins, who have bounced out of an offensive funk that led to a 1-5 start with two big nights in a row at home. Carlos Silva (1-1) worked seven innings to get the win.

The Twins started their first homestand with a .225 batting average and averaged 2.8 runs in their five losses. But in two victories over the Athletics, they have scored 13 runs on 23 hits.

Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save.

Nick Swisher went 3-for-4 with two home runs and tied a career high with four RBIs for the A’s, who are now guaranteed of losing their first series of the season after a 7-6 loss in the opener on Tuesday night.

One night after squandering a 4-0 lead, the A’s spotted starter Esteban Loaiza (0-2) three runs on Wednesday night, but he couldn’t hold it.

Swisher hit a two-run double off the baggie in right in the second inning and scored on a single up the middle from Adam Melhuse to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.

Batista doubled home Hunter in the bottom of the inning before the Twins broke through in the third.

After Joe Mauer and Hunter walked, Morneau just missed a homer when he smoked an 0-1 pitch foul down the first-base line. He worked the count to 2-2, then knocked an offspeed pitch from Loaiza off the press box in right center for a 4-3 lead.

Swisher tied it in the fourth with a leadoff homer, which just barely reached the seats in left. He hit another solo shot in the sixth for his third career multihomer game to cut Minnesota’s lead to 6-5.

Hunter came into the game hitting .214 on the season, but he had to be happy to see Loaiza. Hunter had 19 hits in his previous 42 at-bats (.452) against Loaiza, and went 2-for-4 with a walk on Wednesday night.

Loaiza traditionally gets off to fast starts – he entered the night 18-5 with a 3.13 ERA for his career in April. But he has been dreadful to start this season, giving up six runs on eight hits with four walks in four-plus innings, ballooning his ERA to 11.42.

Silva wasn’t exactly razor sharp either. He gave up five runs on eight hits and hit a batter. In addition to Swisher’s two homers, the A’s had 10 flyouts, a sign that Silva’s trademark sinker ball wasn’t doing a whole lot of sinking.

The Twins have gone eight straight games to start the season without a quality start, the longest streak to open a season in franchise history.

Notes: After nearly 49,000 attended the home opener on Tuesday night, the Twins announced a crowd of 22,603 on Wednesday. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued with 2B umpire Alfonso Marquez in the fifth after it appeared that 2B Mark Ellis was not on the bag when he turned a double play on Batista. Replays agreed with Gardenhire. … A’s 1B Dan Johnson went 0-for-4 and is 0-for-23 to start the season.

AP-ES-04-12-06 2234EDT