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Twins get another chance to pick on A’s

Having avenged an earlier sweep with a series win over the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics get an opportunity to do the same when the Minnesota Twins visit Friday night to open a three-game set.

The Twins weren’t sidetracked by an in-series rainout when they took four straight from the A’s, including a doubleheader, last week in Minneapolis. The victories included a pair of one-run decisions.

Minnesota most recently lost two of three at home to the Tampa Bay Rays, including a wild one on Thursday. The Twins scored four in the bottom of the ninth inning to draw even, only to lose in the 10th.

The A’s experienced a similar fate on Thursday. Oakland drew even with the Kansas City Royals at 2-2 in the seventh, only to watch the visitors score the eventual game-winner in their next at-bat.

Oakland squandered a chance for a sweep after it entered the series having lost nine in a row. The A’s also dropped three straight at Kansas City in mid-May.

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay heaped praise on second baseman Zack Gelof, who homered in all three games against the Royals this week. Gelof raised his average 13 points from .189.

“He’s come a long way,” Kotsay said of Gelof. “He continues to work. He continues to believe in the processes we’ve started with him and making changes in the swing.

“You’re starting to see the results. That’s a great sign for a young player who’s dealt with the adversity and the failures at the start (of the season).”

Gelof went 1-for-10 in three games at Minnesota. His only hit was a double off Chris Paddack (5-3, 5.25 ERA), the Twins’ scheduled starter for Friday.

Paddack should be well-rested after throwing just 46 pitches against the A’s. He was pulled after 2 1/3 innings during the Twins’ 8-7 win. He gave up five runs, two coming on home runs by JJ Bleday and Tyler Soderstrom.

The 28-year-old right-hander has been hot and cold this season. He has allowed four or more runs in fewer than six innings six different times, but he also has blanked three opponents for at least six innings, including the Colorado Rockies on June 10.

Paddack has a 1-1 record and 9.35 ERA in five appearances, including four starts, against the A’s in his career.

Paddack will be matched up for a second consecutive time with A’s right-hander Joey Estes (2-2, 5.97 ERA), who also didn’t survive the third inning in the high-scoring affair on Sunday. He was roughed up for six runs in 2 2/3 innings, serving up homers to Royce Lewis and Trevor Larnach.

Estes has started twice against the Twins in his career, going 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA.

Lewis homered in both ends of the Sunday doubleheader, then added two more long balls in the three-game series against the Rays. He has homered in nine of his 15 games this season.

“That guy is a special type of talent,” teammate Austin Martin said. “You don’t really see players like that every single day. So just being able to be here and see it in person is awesome.”

–Field Level Media

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