A's hope to stay hot against Twins

The Oakland Athletics are riding homers as they open a four-game road series against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

The recent numbers for manager Bob Melvin's A's have been impressive -- six consecutive victories, winners of 12 of 14 and a sizzling 19-5 in their last 24 games.

The club arrives in Minneapolis having swept their six-game homestand and are a season-high 14 games over .500.

Home runs have been key.

Oakland owns a 17-game home-run streak, bashing 37 along the way, including six on Wednesday in a 10-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The team set a record along the way, scoring 10 runs and having all of them plated via the long ball.

"It's what we do," Melvin said. "When we're playing well, we hit homers, put pressure on you."

Melvin added that All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman (ankle soreness) is day-to-day after being pulled from Wednesday's game.

Starting pitcher Homer Bailey worked through a slow start but earned the victory in his Oakland debut.

Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.61) will take the mound in Minneapolis in the 8:10 p.m. ET start at Target Field on Thursday.

Fiers' 2.31 ERA ranks as the second best among American League starters since April 26, and in 12 career appearances (11 starts), the 34-year-old Florida native is 6-1 with a stellar 2.66 ERA.

Fiers was in line for the win but earned a no-decision in his lone start against Minnesota this season -- a 4-3 loss in 12 innings in Oakland on July 3.

He turned in a quality start in the middle game of the teams' three-game series, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings, but the visitors rallied from a 3-0 hole to claim the victory.

Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli will be looking for his club to clean up its act in the field.

The Twins committed two critical errors in Wednesday's 14-4 blowout loss to the New York Mets.

Third baseman Miguel Sano's throwing error in the fourth inning led to an unearned run, and left fielder Eddie Rosario dropped a fly ball that would have been the third out in an eventual six-run frame for the Mets.

In all, half of the 14 runs by New York were unearned.

"The fact that we haven't seen many games like that is a good sign," Baldelli said following the club's first three-game losing skid. "There are always going to be a handful of games like that over the course of the year."

The Twins will send out Kyle Gibson (8-4, 4.03), who said he felt fine mechanically in his last outing on Friday against Cleveland, though the results didn't show it as he failed to get out of the fourth inning.

A 2009 first-round pick by the Twins, Gibson started opposite Fiers in that July 3 contest and left after six innings of work after also posting a quality start.

The right-hander allowed five hits and all three runs (two earned) while striking out five and walking four.

In his career, the 31-year-old Gibson has faced Oakland five times -- all starts -- and is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA.

--Field Level Media
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