MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Mark Kotsay had three hits and scored the go-ahead run, and Danny Haren pitched seven strong innings to lead the Oakland Athletics to their sixth straight win on Tuesday night, 5-2 over the Minnesota Twins.

Coming into the game, Kotsay had missed six of the previous seven games because of a bad back. He looked just fine on Tuesday, notching a double, two singles and an RBI.

Haren (9-7) scattered eight hits over seven innings, allowed two runs and struck out six, running his unbeaten streak to 13 straight starts – 8-0 during that span.

Jay Witasick struck out the side in the eighth inning to pick up the victory and Huston Street earned his 11th save.

After struggling against Twins starter Joe Mays through the first six innings, the A’s scored three runs off reliever J.C. Romero (2-3) in the eighth to win for the 33rd time in their last 40 games.

Kotsay led off with a single and advanced to second when Bobby Crosby walked. Eric Chavez and Dan Johnson followed with back-to-back RBI singles and Chavez scored on a fielder’s choice by Scott Hatteberg to cap the scoring.

The Twins lost their sixth straight game, their longest losing streak since an eight-game skid in July, 2003.

Once again, the Twins got a strong effort from their starting pitcher, but couldn’t come up with the offense to help him out.

Mays cruised through the first 4 2-3 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. But after getting Jay Payton to ground out and Scott Hatteberg to fly out to center in the fifth, Mays walked Nick Swisher and Mark Ellis.

Jason Kendall followed with a single to right and Swisher scored when Jacque Jones’ throw pulled catcher Joe Mauer up the third-base line. Kotsay’s single came next to give the A’s a 2-1 lead.

Michael Cuddyer tied it with a 425-foot drive deep into the left-field stands, but that was it for the Twins, who lost for the 10th time in their last 12 games.

Jones added a solo homer in the second for the Twins, who seemed poised for a big inning when Justin Morneau followed with a hard single to right. But they failed to muster another hit.

Twins fans have grown accustomed to watching their offense founder.

They have scored just 16 runs during their latest losing streak, and looked equally stagnant most of Tuesday night.

In the third inning, the Twins had runners on the corners with nobody out and the heart of the order coming to the plate.

But Haren struck out Mauer and Matthew LeCroy, then got Jones to ground out to the pitcher to get out of the jam unscathed.

Notes: Johnson, a native of Coon Rapids, Minn., purchased 64 tickets for friends and family, who cheered loudly when he hit his RBI-single in the eighth. It was his only hit of the night. … Jones’ homer gave him 16 on the season, which leads the team.

AP-ES-08-02-05 2251EDT


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