OAKLAND, Calif. — The Minnesota Twins sure made an interesting game out of it with Oakland, rallying back only to be done in by the longball. Several times.
Coco Crisp connected for a go-ahead, two-run drive in the eighth inning, and the Athletics lowered their magic number to clinch the AL West to four with a back-and-forth 8-6 victory over the Twins on Thursday night.
Brian Dozier hit a tying RBI single in the top half of the eighth, then Oakland delivered once more just as this club has done so many times the past two seasons. Crisp connected for his 21st home run on a 2-1 pitch from Shairon Martis (0-1).
Jed Lowrie's three-run homer put the A's ahead 6-3 in the sixth after pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo tied it with a solo shot, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead.
"They kept coming up with the big hits and getting the lead," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We kept coming back and finally we got lead, and they jumped us again. Not only did they jump us, they hit them in the seats. If we could have kept them in the ballpark we might have had a better opportunity to win it. It seemed like everyone we brought gave up home runs tonight, and that hasn't been the norm."
Sean Doolittle (5-5) recorded the final four outs for the victory to end the 3-hour, 41-minute game in front of just 11,461 fans.
Crisp's 21 leadoff homers are tied for most in the majors.
That spoiled Martis' outing.
"Just like the other guys, one bad pitch," Gardenhire said. "He made one bad pitch and it cost him one home run."
Callaspo's two-out drive was his second career pinch-hit homer, his eighth clout this season and third since joining Oakland before the trade deadline. Crisp then came through with a single to chase Brian Duensing (6-3), then Lowrie followed Josh Donaldson's single with his 13th home run.
Stephen Vogt hit a sacrifice fly and Josh Reddick had an RBI double for the A's, who remained 6 1-2 games ahead of Texas in the division race after the Rangers won 8-2 at Tampa Bay.
"I know we're close," Crisp said. "We've got to keep the same philosophy. Hopefully we can get there and win this division."
Oswaldo Arcia homered in the seventh for the Twins, who lost for the seventh time in nine games that included dropping two of three to the A's at home last week. But Minnesota is holding out hope catcher Joe Mauer will recover from his concussion in time to play again before the season ends.
Starter Kevin Correia has just two wins in his last 11 starts and none in his past three outings. He matched his season high with five walks in five innings.
"They are an aggressive team. They don't walk a lot," he said. "I got behind some guys. It was a close game. I would throw a pitch and err on the plate more than off it. If you make a bad pitch these guys are sneaky powerful. They have a lot of home runs. There's not one guy with a ton but they a lot guys who can hit it out. "
Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the fifth but Dan Straily worked out of it.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the third. Chris Parmelee beat out an infield single leading off the inning but shortstop Lowrie's wild throw trying to make the play sailed into the dugout as Parmelee advanced. He then beat a throw home on Alex Presley's RBI groundout.
In the sixth, Straily threw two wild pitches that allowed Arcia to go from first to second and then to third. Josh Willingham drew a two-out walk and A's manager Bob Melvin went to the bullpen. Dan Otero relieved and gave up Yosmil Pinto's tying single and walked Parmelee to load the bases.
Pedro Floriman followed with a go-ahead single against Brett Anderson.
Gardenhire remains at 997 wins as he tries to become the eighth active manager with 1,000 victories
NOTES: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe left the game with left wrist soreness. ... Arcia is tied for most extra-base hits (31) and home runs (13) by AL rookies. ... Josmil Pinto is batting .388 (19 for 49) in 14 September games.