OAKLAND (AP) — Jon Lester pitched a three-hitter for his fourth career shutout, and Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Thursday night.
The All-Star left-hander struck out eight, walked two and only allowed two runners past first base in the 11th complete game of his career. He pitched out of two-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth but was otherwise stellar.
Lester (12-7) was making second start since being acquired at the trade deadline as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes to Boston.
Stephen Vogt homered and Derek Norris hit an RBI double to help Oakland become the first team in the majors to reach 70 wins.
A’s manager Bob Melvin became the eighth active manager in the majors and 76th overall to reach 800 career victories. Two of them have come with Lester on the mound, showing why general manager Billy Beane made the deal with the Red Sox.
Lester retired the first 15 batters while allowing only three balls out of the infield. Former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki ended the bid for perfection with a leadoff single in the sixth.
The former Boston ace hasn’t lost since June 7 and improved to 6-0 with 1.21 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Chris Colabello and Oswaldo Arcia had the other hits for Minnesota, which has lost 10 straight to Oakland.
Vogt snapped an 0-for-23 skid with his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot off Yohan Pino (1-4) in the third.
Back-to-back doubles by Brandon Moss and Derek Norris in the fourth made it 3-0.
Pino allowed six hits 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out two and is winless in his last four starts.
Twins: First baseman Joe Mauer (strained right oblique) was given the day off after going 1-for-6 in his first two rehab starts with Single-A Cedar Rapids. There still is no timetable for Mauer’s return to the big league club.
Athletics: Shortstop Jed Lowrie was held out of the starting lineup with a bruised right index finger. He pinch-hit with two on in the sixth and flew out to right. Melvin indicated Lowrie would most likely start Friday. ... First baseman Kyle Blanks (calf) ran the bases for the second time and could begin a rehab assignment this weekend.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-8) has pitched extremely well against the AL West, winning four of six starts this season while crafting a 2.50 ERA. He gets the ball Friday night against the A’s
Athletics: Left-hander Scott Kazmir (12-4) has a 1.92 ERA in 10 starts at the Coliseum this season. He beat the Twins in Minnesota on April 7 when he allowed three runs over six innings.