OAKLAND (AP) — Coco Crisp has been tinkering with his batting stance to finally find something that works. Now that he's feeling it again at the plate, Crisp refuses to offer any details in fear of jinxing a good thing.
Go study some video to see for yourself, he says.
Crisp homered, hit an RBI double, and scored three runs, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 on Wednesday for their second straight winning series.
"I felt like Cal Ripken over there with so many batting stances," Crisp said.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning that held up for Tommy Milone, and Crisp also singled and stole his 28th base to give the A's a much-needed boost only a couple of hours after right-hander Bartolo Colon received a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test. The ban came one day before he had been scheduled to start the opener of a series at Tampa Bay.
Milone (10-9) allowed one run and two hits, struck out five and walked one in eight impressive innings to end a five-start winless stretch in which he had gone 0-3 since his last victory, a 9-3 decision at Minnesota on July 14. He lowered his ERA to 3.87 from 4.03 and became Oakland's second 10-game winner after Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner while with the Angels.
The A's won despite four errors behind Milone.
"Typically, you don't win games making four errors," manager Bob Melvin said. "The reason we did come back is Milone."
Josh Reddick added an RBI single for the A's (67-56), who moved a season-high 11 games over .500 — their best since finishing the 2006 season at 93-69. That's the last year Oakland reached the playoffs, getting swept in four games of the AL championship series by the Detroit Tigers.
Oakland began the day a half-game out in the AL wild-card race.
"When Coco plays well, we win," Melvin said.
Minnesota starter Liam Hendriks (0-6) is still searching for his first major league win after 13 career starts, and nine this season. The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits in five innings — and he didn't get much help from the Twins' stagnant offense, which managed only three hits. Matt Carson had two of them.
"I wasn't given a lead and trying to blow it," Hendriks said. "We had some good at bats against Milone. It was just one of those days where I had to keep us in the game. It's unfortunate I only went five."
Not even the steady Josh Willingham had a hit in him this time as Minnesota lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Willingham, who hit 29 home runs in 2011 during his lone season with the A's, went 0 for 4 after he had hit safely in each of his first eight games against his former club this year.
"Milone did the rest. He shut us down and went deep into the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
A day after the A's turned a triple play, and Minnesota didn't leave a single runner on base in Oakland's 4-1 win, things weren't much better for the Twins. Two batters after Crisp's solo homer in the seventh against reliever Tyler Robertson, Reddick reached second when shortstop Pedro Florimon's wild throw trying for a double play sailed past first and into the visiting dugout. Then he successfully turned one in the eighth.
Drew Butera had an RBI groundout in the second for Minnesota, which has lost five of the first six on its 10-game trip and now heads to Texas for a four-game series against the two-time reigning AL champion Rangers. The Twins scored nine runs in the series, seven in Monday's 7-2 win, and still must play 10 of their next 14 games away from home.
The A's won the season series with the Twins 5-4 — just the second season-series victory for Oakland in seven years and first since 2009.
Milone dazzled with his change-up and followed a stellar outing by Brett Anderson in the left-hander's return Tuesday night following a 14-month absence for his recovery from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
"Obviously Bartolo's going to be missed," Milone said. "We move on from now."
Oakland's Josh Donaldson doubled and scored in the fourth on Crisp's hit. Donaldson has a career-best, six-game hitting streak and is batting .429 (15 for 35) in nine games since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 14.
New A's shortstop Stephen Drew is 0 for 6 through his first two games since being traded from Arizona on Monday. He is mired in an 0-for-21 stretch overall.
Notes: Milone passed Colon for the team lead in innings pitched, 153 1-3 to 152 1-3. ... RHP Tyson Ross will be called up from Sacramento to start Thursday in place of Colon for the first game of a three-game series with the Rays. ... Hendriks was one of three Australian pitchers in the ballpark — joining Oakland's Travis Blackley and Grant Balfour. ... Milone improved to 5-1 in seven starts against American League Central teams. ... Cespedes is second among AL rookies in the Triple Crown categories — average (.303), home runs (16) and RBIs (62) — to the Angels' Mike Trout. ... Oakland last committed four errors in a game June 23 vs. the Giants, a 9-8 loss.