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Hernandez shelled in Twins' loss to A's

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MICHAEL WAGAMAN | September 21, 2013 11:15 PM EST | AP

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Minnesota pitcher Pedro Hernandez got off to a rough start when he gave up three hits in the first inning.

It didn't get any easier after that for the Twins lefty.

Hernandez allowed six runs and eight hits in just two innings, matching his shortest outing of the season in Minnesota's 9-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

"Hernandez basically centered the baseball and they made him pay," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You leave a pitch out and over the plate and they will take advantage of it."

The A's certainly did that to Hernandez (3-2) and lowered their magic number to one for clinching their second straight AL West title.

Oakland scored on Alberto Callaspo's RBI single in the first, then tacked on five more runs in the second and ended Hernandez's brief outing.

"The first inning I feel really, really bad ... because I worked my strike zone and they (took) good pitches," said Hernandez, who walked one and struck out one. "I think they made adjustments in the second inning, and for that reason they got a lot of hits."

Josmil Pinto homered for Minnesota, 1-5 on its trip. It's Pinto's third home run in September, and his .377 batting average for the month is tops among all AL rookies.

Not much else went right for the Twins.

Jarrod Parker (12-7), who may start the A's postseason opener, gave up one run and four hits in six innings. He allowed only two runners past first and didn't walk a batter for the fifth time this season.

Callaspo matched his career highs with four hits and had three RBIs. Kurt Suzuki and Yoenis Cespedes homered for the A's, and Jed Lowrie had three hits.

The game started after a two-hour rain delay. The visiting dugout was flooded and sewage backed up in the A's coaches' bathroom, the third such incident at the Coliseum this season. The infield was covered by a silver tarp before the game and workers repeatedly had to sweep big puddles of water away.

Callaspo's two-out single in the first drove in Lowrie, and the A's opened a 6-0 lead with a five-run second. Chris Young had a sacrifice fly, Cespedes a two-run single and Callaspo a two-run homer.

Suzuki added a two-run homer in the sixth off Liam Hendricks and Cespedes hit 26th homer in the eighth.

The A's have won 12 of 15 and are 16 of their last 21, opening a season-high 7 1/2-game lead over second-place Texas entering Saturday.

"They are getting after it pretty good," Gardenhire said of the A's. "They can smell it, and right now we are in their way and they are pushing us around pretty good."

NOTES: The Twins have a winning record against every AL West rival this season except Oakland. ... Hendricks pitched six scoreless innings of relief, the longest a Minnesota reliever has gone in more than two years. ... Brian Dozier had two hits and is batting .350 (7 for 20) on the road trip.