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Updated: July 31st, 2011 6:01pm
Twins Daily: Pavano's struggles continue, as Twins drop 2 of 3 to A's

Twins Daily: Pavano's struggles continue, as Twins drop 2 of 3 to A's

by Phil Mackey
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By not selling off any key pieces prior to the trade deadline, the Minnesota Twins' front office showed confidence in the product on the field, but the product failed to return the favor, dropping Sunday's game to the Oakland A's 7-3.

The skinny

Carl Pavano's struggles of late came to a head in a six-run third inning by the A's on Sunday, and the Twins -- despite taking a 3-0 lead early -- were unable to recover.

Pavano was lifted after only four innings, having allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks, and it's the third consecutive start in which the right-hander has allowed 10 baserunners or more in six innings or fewer.

Jim Thome's solo blast in the third inning gave the Twins that 3-0 advantage, but the offense fell asleep for the most part after that. The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the seventh inning, but left-hander Craig Breslow blew three fastballs by Thome to end the inning.

Turning point

The floodgates opened on Pavano in the third inning, and he was unable to shut the door before the A's inflicted significant damage.

The frame began with a one-out double by Jemile Weeks, who then stole third, and an RBI infield single by Coco Crisp to cut the Twins' lead to 3-1. The hit parade continued with a single by Hideki Matsui, an RBI single by Josh Willingham, an RBI single by Connor Jackson, a two-RBI double by Ryan Sweeney, and an RBI single by Cliff Pennington.

Kurt Suzuki lined into a double play to end the inning, but not until the A's took a 6-3 lead courtesy of those seven consecutive hits.

Numbers game

3: Stolen bases for Crisp, all off Pavano and his battery mate Drew Butera.

90%: Success rate of base stealers with Pavano on the mound this season (18/20).

16: Consecutive games in which the A's have tallied at least eight hits, which sets a club record.

9: Strikeouts for Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy, which matched his career high.

597: Career home runs for Thome

0: Trades made by the Twins before Sunday's non-waiver deadline.

Health report

• OF Denard Span (concussion) was scheduled to play one final rehab game with Triple-A Rochester on Sunday before hopping on a flight to Anaheim on Monday in time to rejoin the Twins' lineup Tuesday against the Angels.

• 1B Justin Morneau (neck surgery, wrist) has been taking batting practice with no problems and feels like he's "living the dream," health-wise, per manager Ron Gardenhire. It's possible Morneau could begin a rehab assignment sometime before the end of the week if all goes well.

On deck

Monday is the Twins' first off day since the All-Star break.

Coming up

• Tuesday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (8-8, 4.35) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (6-8, 3.47)
• Wednesday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (8-6, 2.86) vs. RHP Joel Piniero (5-5, 4.91)
• Thursday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-8, 4.67) vs. RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 3.93)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd