MINNEAPOLIS – With Josh Reddick back and hitting home runs, the Oakland Athletics are bringing some more muscle and a bigger lead into a crucial weekend series.
Reddick homered and had three RBI, A.J. Griffin gave up just two hits in seven innings, and the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 Thursday afternoon to increase their division lead to 3 1/2 games over idle Texas in the American League West. It is Oakland’s largest lead over the Rangers since Aug. 3. The teams are to scheduled play a three-game series this weekend in the Lone Star State.
We know it’s an important series, but we’re not going to sweat about it, Reddick said. We know we can beat those guys.
Reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after missing time with a sprained right wrist, Reddick hit an eighth-inning pitch from Brian Duensing into the right field seats for an 8-1 Oakland lead. It was his 11th homer of the season in his 99th game. He hit 32 in 156 games last year.
In winning his fourth straight start, Griffin (14-9) struck out eight and walked just one batter.
RAYS 4, RED SOX 3: In St. Petersburg, Fla., Wil Myers hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and Tampa Bay beat Boston to avoid a three-game sweep. Myers drove in Evan Longoria, who also doubled off Rubby De La Rosa (0-1), to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.
Jake McGee (5-3) pitched a scoreless eighth before Fernando Rodney got three outs to earn his 34th save for the Rays, who lead the race for the second AL wild card.
David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for Boston, which has an 8 1/2 -game advantage over second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.
ANGELS 4, BLUE JAYS 3: In Toronto, Garrett Richards pitched 6 2/3 innings for his third straight win, and Kole Calhoun hit a solo home run as Los Angeles beat the Blue Jays to complete a three-game sweep.
Erick Aybar had two hits and scored twice as the Angels won for the 15th time in 20 games and improved to 12-2 in their past 14 road contests.
Jose Reyes homered and finished 4 for 4 with a walk for Toronto.
BRAVES 6, MARLINS 1: In Miami, Freddy Garcia (1-1) earned his second NL victory since 2007, and his first since joining Atlanta last month, pitching six innings to help beat the Marlins.
Freddie Freeman had three hits on his 24th birthday, including his 20th home run. Chris Johnson had three hits to raise his average to .330.
NATIONALS 7, METS 2: In New York, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos homered off Aaron Harang in his Mets debut, and Washington completed a four-game sweep.
Anthony Rendon also connected for Washington, which outhomered the Mets 13-0 in a series that helped the Nationals remain on the fringe of the NL wild-card race.