Oakland, CA – Trevor May made his Major League debut and became the first Twins starting pitcher to allow seven or more walks since Francisco Liriano who also walked seven August 9, 2011 vs Boston. The A’s capitalized off May’s mistakes and walked their way to a 9-4 victory over Minnesota.
“Obviously, we all remember our debuts, your brain gets scattered in several different ways,” said Derek Norris. “Some guys are able to harness it and unfortunately, the kid tonight wasn’t able to harness all the adrenaline that was going on and we cashed in when we needed too.”
May put two on in the corners in the first, Sam Fuld hit a single to right field and Josh Donaldson followed with a double to left field. He walked Brandon Moss to load the bases with one out. May then walked Derek Norris and the A’s scored in their first run tying the game 1-1.
Oakland extended their lead in the second after the rookie walked three consecutive batters. Donaldson followed with a two-run RBI single, May then issued another free pass to Norris, walking in the A’s next batter making it a 4-1 game while the bases were still loaded.
“It was the case of a lot of things today,” May said. “It was a lot of factors, some excitement, getting used to the ball, all kinds of stuff. But at the end of the day there’s no excuse not making pitches when you need to and not executing.”
May lasted just two innings, he walked five batters in the second giving up three runs. He was able to get out of that inning without any further damage however manager Ron Gardenhire saw enough and replaced him with the bullpen. Oakland took full advantage of the miscues from the Twins and opened up their offense.
“The kid just had a hard time,” said Gardenhire. “He couldn’t gather himself. They took a lot of pitches and we walked a lot of people. That was pretty much the story.”
Stephen Vogt went deep to right field with a two-run homer off Samuel Deduno in the fifth. And Norris blasted a three-run homer in the sixth extending the A’s lead 9-2 chasing Deduno off the mound. Minnesota tried to chip away at the lead by scoring runs both in the first and fifth frames.
“We’ve been getting progressively better here offensively the last few days,” manager Bob Melvin said. “The homers help. Been a little shy with those recently. It cures a lot of ills when you score two or three runs one one swing of the bat.”
The Twins scored a pair of runs off Dan Otero in the eighth. He gave up a double to Eduardo Escobar who leadoff the inning. Jordan Schafer followed with a RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Brain Dozier made it a 9-4 game. But that wasn’t enough to contain Oakland.
Closer Eric O’Flaherty retired the next three batters in the ninth to secure the A’s win. Oakland is a season-high 28 games over .500. They have won 16 of the last 21 home games and 34 of the last 45. Jeff Samardzija got off to a rough start but had enough run support for the win.
“It was outstanding,” said Samardzija. “I was fighting myself a few times. I felt like I was in the stretch the whole game. Just one of those days I was able to make a couple of pitches when I really needed to, made it a little harder on myself at times but when you get those runs, it kind of brings you back to center, and you want to attack and make some quick outs and get your offense back in the dugout and let them keep doing what they were doing.”
He snapped a 14-start winless streak at night dating back to August 24, 2013 at San Diego. Samardzija is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts with the A’s. Oakland is 6-1 in his starting assignments. He did not allow a home run tonight. Samardzija has allowed a home run in each of his previous five starts.