MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Oakland Athletics can win a lot of different ways, as evidenced by their two-year hold on the AL West division title.
Yoenis Cespedes proved he can play through a hurting right heel, giving Scott Kazmir and the A's a spark with a pair of RBIs that helped spoil the Minnesota Twins' home opener with an 8-3 victory on Monday.
"When we're swinging well, we feel like we have a deep lineup," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Cespedes has been hobbling around the last few days with the injury, but the team wasn't worried enough about it to hold him out. The Cuban slugger followed a leadoff walk to Brandon Moss by crushing a double in the second inning for the first run against Kevin Correia (0-1) and hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Moss added a two-run single in the third and Derek Norris homered in the sixth.
"Everyone knows their strengths and they don't go outside of their game, and I think that's what makes us a great overall ballclub and very deadly down the stretch of the whole season," Norris said.
Jed Lowrie hit what the A's believed was a home run down the right-field line in the third inning, but the call on the field was a foul ball and the umpire-initiated review, which lasted more than four minutes, upheld the ruling. Lowrie took a walk instead and later scored.
Kazmir (2-0), who stymied with Twins in five starts against them last season for Cleveland, completed six innings with six hits, three runs and four walks allowed. He struck out five, and RBI doubles by Aaron Hicks and Jason Kubel were the only damaging hits against him. This wasn't his best, but Kazmir got enough quick outs to stay in there.
"Not very efficient with my pitches, but there's going to be days like that so I need to be able to battle. To get six out of that, that's something you can build on," he said.
The 30-year-old Kazmir dazzled in his A's debut with 7 1-3 scoreless innings last week against his old team, the Indians. He did the same against the Twins in 2013, going 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings with 36 strikeouts.