Oakland eyes second straight AL West title

Jarrod Parker aims to bounce back from his first loss in nearly four months on Saturday and try to get his Oakland Athletics one step closer to an American League West crown in the third test of a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Coliseum.

Parker had been 9-0 over a franchise-best 19 start unbeaten streak since falling to Texas back on May 22. But that stretch went by the wayside on Monday, as the Los Angeles Angels rocked him for eight runs (7 earned) and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, dropping him to 11-7 to go along with a 3.81 ERA.

"Pretty terrible, I think," said Parker, whose start was actually pushed back a day because of illness. "Take nothing away from them, they swung the bats well, but there weren't too many pitches that I executed."

Minnesota will counter with lefty Pedro Hernandez, who is 3-1 with a 5.26 ERA. Hernandez did not get a decision on Sunday versus Tampa Bay, as he allowed three runs, four hits and walked four batters in five innings of a 6-4 win.

The Twins have won six of the last seven games Hernandez has pitched in.

Oakland lowered its magic number for clinching the division to two on Friday,.as Bartolo Colon turned in six shutout innings and the Athletics reduced their magic number to two with an 11-0 rout.

Colon (17-6) scattered just five hits and a walk while striking out eight over another stellar outing. He was backed by plenty of offensive support, some of which the Twins provided on their own.

Minnesota committed four errors on the evening, with its third of the night contributing to a five-run inning for Oakland, which will capture its second straight AL West title with a win and a Texas loss on Saturday.

"All I know is we have an afternoon game tomorrow and the Rangers are playing in Kansas City," manager Bob Melvin said. "We'll have to wait to see what happens."

Derek Norris had two hits and three runs scored, while Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes each contributed home runs to help Oakland to its 11th win in 14 games.

"Similar to last year, we've really kind of hit our stride in the second half," Melvin added.

Andrew Albers (2-4) ended on the hook for eight runs -- although only three were earned. He allowed eight hits over 4 2/3 frames in the Twins' eighth setback in 10 games.

"Unfortunately for him, if we just make a couple plays behind him, different story," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "You've got to make plays and we didn't make plays."

Oakland took two of three from the Twins last week at Target Field.