OAKLAND (AP) — Healthy and playing regularly for the first time in three years , Coco Crisp is finally producing the way he did earlier in his career with the Athletics.
Not even a collision with teammate Chris Coghlan was enough to slow down Oakland’s 36-year-old veteran outfielder.
Crisp homered leading off the game, Khris Davis hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Monday.
“As long as I can go out there and give whatever I got, whatever it is, 100 percent, then I’m going to try to do that,” Crisp said. “If they keep throwing me out there then I want to be out there. It’s working out.”
The game marked Crisp’s 15 consecutive start - his longest stretch since 2014 when he began to get saddled with a series of injuries.
Crisp hit his fifth home run this season on the second pitch from Santana, the 16th leadoff homer of his career. He also survived a collision with Coghlan after Coughlan made a tremendous catch in the fifth while both men were chasing down Brian Dozier’s sacrifice fly.
“It’s easy for me having a guy like that, who plays all-out, who plays hard all the time,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “For some of the new guys coming in, this is how we play. And then when he’s healthy, he’s usually productive, and he definitely is.”
Jed Lowrie added two hits and scored the game-winning run for Oakland while first baseman Yonder Alonso singled, scored and made a diving catch to end a threat in the seventh and strand the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
Kendall Graveman pitched six uneven innings to win for the first time in more than a month for the A’s. Oakland has won three straight since dropping the opener of this six-game homestand.
All of the A’s runs came off Twins starter Erwin Santana, who had only lost twice in 12 previous career starts at the Coliseum. Santana (1-4) gave up seven hits in seven innings with five strikeouts.
“It’s a little disappointing, considering the matchup on paper and how we were swinging the bats,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “Once they got the lead, their bullpen did a great job of shutting us down.”
Graveman (2-6) allowed two runs and six hits for his first win since April 20. The right-hander struck out five and walked three.
John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson pitched the final three innings for Oakland. Madson retired three batters in the ninth for his 12th save.
The Twins had runners at second and third with one out in the seventh but failed to score. Dozier struck out swinging, and Alonso made a diving catch on Joe Mauer’s liner to end the inning. “In close games like that there are going to be certain plays that are more impactful than others and some that don’t show up in the box score, and that was definitely one of them,” Melvin said.
Twins: OF Danny Santana was placed on the disabled list after leaving the game with a left hamstring strain. The team plans to call up OF Byron Buxton to take Santana’s spot on the roster. . Right-hander Kyle Gibson will come off the disabled list to start Thursday’s home game against Tampa Bay. RHP Phil Hughes will move to the bullpen when Gibson returns to the rotation. ... Trevor Plouffe (bruised knee) worked out before the game then came in as a pinch-runner in the seventh.
Athletics: Rich Hill, who left Sunday’s game in the seventh inning due to a groin strain, has not been ruled out from making his next start. Hill is sore, according to manager Bob Melvin and could get an extra day of rest. . RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) threw off flat ground before the game and will next throw off the mound in the bullpen.
Twins: RHP Tyler Duffy (2-3) pitches the second game of the series in his first career start. Duffy is the only Minnesota starter with more than one win.
Athletics: LHP Eric Surkamp (0-3) will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to start against Minnesota. It will be Surkamp’s third stint with the big league club and his first career start against the Twins.