Straily stymies Twins hitters; A's get to Mike Pelfrey, complete sweep
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and Sam Fuld hit a rare home run to help the Oakland Athletics complete a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 6-1 victory Thursday.
Straily (1-1) gave up one run and struck out five. The Athletics have gone nine straight games to start the season without their starter allowing more than three runs.
Fuld hit just his sixth homer in 738 career plate appearances and later singled. Josh Donaldson also hit a two-run homer.
Mike Pelfrey (0-2) gave up six runs on nine hits and four walks in five innings. The Twins have had only one quality start in their first nine games.
Brian Dozier hit his third home run of the season for Minnesota.
Straily, a 25-year-old righty selected in the 24th round of the 2009 draft, is just another in the seemingly endless line of young, strong starting pitchers churned out by Billy Beane's Moneyball machine.
Last year he led all AL rookies in starts, innings and strikeouts, and he brushed off the early homer to Dozier to slow down the Twins for the rest of the game. He allowed two baserunners -- both on walks -- over his final five innings
Pelfrey had no such luck, laboring through another poor outing for Minnesota's starting rotation. Donaldson's homer in the third inning put him behind 3-1 and he walked No. 9 hitter Nick Punto in the fourth before Fuld yanked a pitch just over the wall in right field for a 5-1 lead.
The cushion allowed the A's to avoid a save situation on the same day manager Bob Melvin demoted struggling closer Jim Johnson, who is 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA in five appearances this season. The A's will go with a closer-by-committee approach while they try to get Johnson straightened out, Melvin said.
--The announced attendance of 20,650 was the smallest in Target Field history.
--Umpires reviewed a play in the sixth inning in which Jed Lowrie was thrown out at home by Twins CF Aaron Hicks. Umpires were looking to see if C Josmil Pinto was illegally blocking the plate. The call of an out was confirmed.
--Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said star prospect Byron Buxton likely will not start playing until May because of a wrist injury.
--The Twins open a series against Kansas City on Friday night. RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 1.80) will start the opener against Royals LHP Bruce Chen (0-0, 1.42).© The Associated Press