Oakland, CA – Coco Crisp clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Oakland Athletics to an 8-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a four-game set at O.co Coliseum.
Jed Lowrie laced a tiebreaking three-run homer to cap Oakland's four-run sixth and give the A's a 6-3 cushion, but the Twins tagged Oakland's bullpen for three runs over the next two frames to even the score.
Shairon Martis (0-1) issued a leadoff walk to Daric Barton to start the home half of the eighth and after Alberto Callaspo fanned, Crisp stroked a 2-1 fastball into the seats in right-center field to put the A's in front.
Sean Doolittle (5-5) recorded the final out of the eighth before retiring the Twins in order in the ninth to pick up the win.
Callaspo added a solo shot in the sixth, while Josh Reddick registered an RBI and a run scored for the A's, who won for the seventh time in their last nine games to trim their magic number to four games to clinch their second straight AL West crown.
"I know we're close, but we've got to keep the same philosophy," Crisp said. "You can't look too far ahead. I know it's very difficult, especially at this stage. Hopefully you'll get there and win this division."
Oswaldo Arcia smacked a solo homer and scored twice for the Twins, who have dropped seven of their last nine games.
Josmil Pinto and Pedro Florimon each stroked a run-scoring infield single in the sixth to give the Twins a 3-2 edge, but the A's answered with four two-out runs in the home half to surge ahead.
Callaspo came on as a pinch-hitter and kept the sixth inning alive with a solo shot to left to tie the game.
After Crisp singled, Brian Duensing replaced Anthony Swarzak on the mound and served up a single to Josh Donaldson before Lowrie launched a 1-2 fastball over the wall in right-center to make it 6-3 Oakland.
Arcia's two-out blast in the seventh trimmed the margin to two before Pinto and Chris Parmelee opened the eighth with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners.
Pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann followed with a fielder's choice groundout to score Pinto before Alex Presley worked a walk.
After Jesse Chavez replaced Ryan Cook on the hill, Brian Dozier ripped a seeing-eye single that tipped off the glove of a diving Lowrie at shortstop, allowing Herrmann to score from second to tie the game.
"We kept coming back and finally we got a lead and they jumped us right away again," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I was proud of the guys' effort out there."
Early on, Presley plated the game's first run with a fielder's choice groundout in the third, but the A's answered with two runs in the fourth to jump in front.
Brandon Moss worked a leadoff walk and Reddick followed with a double to bring Oakland within a run. Reddick moved to third on a wild pitch and after Seth Smith singled, Stephen Vogt lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Reddick for a 2-1 lead.
Oakland starter Dan Straily struck out six while giving up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and three walks over 5 2/3 frames ... Minnesota starter Kevin Correia allowed two runs on six hits and five walks over five innings ... Minnesota finished 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.