(SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics will try to spoil the home opener for the Minnesota Twins on Monday in the opener of a three- game series at Target Field.
After making just one start the previous two seasons, Kazmir resurrected his career with the Cleveland Indians in 2013 and went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA over 29 starts. He also struck out 162 batters over 158 innings, earning himself a 2-year, $32 million deal with the A's.
Kazmir started to pay immediate dividends for the A's and was brilliant in his first start on Wednesday against the Indians, holding his former team to just three hits over 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He also struck out five batters and walked just one.
"At times I don't think he had his best velocity, but he's so unpredictable now with four pitches," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin. "He has a great changeup, pitches in and out with his fastball and certainly had good command with it. That's what it starts with for him, moving the ball around and mixing in his other stuff.
"He was fantastic."
Minnesota is certainly aware of how good Kazmir was a year ago, as he went 3-0 against the Twins and pitched to a 1.45 ERA in five starts.
Oakland managed a series win over the weekend, as Brandon Moss smashed a three-run homer to back a solid start from Sonny Gray and the Athletics edged the Seattle Mariners, 6-3, in Sunday's rubber match.
Gray (1-0) settled in after a shaky first three frames and pitched well with the lead, as the 24-year-old right-hander allowed just three runs -- one earned -- on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts over six innings.
Oakland's bullpen did the rest, as Luke Gregerson pitched a scoreless seventh, Sean Doolittle spun a perfect eighth and Jim Johnson stranded runners on first and second in the ninth to secure his first save with the A's.
"Everyone is still trying to feel each other out and figure out how to play together," Gray said of his team's 3-3 start to the season. "For the most part we do that very well, there's just a few things here and there and we're only going to get better and better from here on out."
Minnesota also enters on a winning note after Chris Colabello continued his torrid start to the season on Sunday by knocking in four more runs to lead the Twins to a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Colabello finished 2-for-5 and now owns a major league-best 11 RBI through the Twins' first six games. His three-run double off Blake Wood (0-1) in the top of the sixth inning snapped a 6-6 tie and propelled the Twins to a second straight win to close out this three-game series.
"I was just trying to get a ball to the outfield," said Colabello. "In a situation like that, I'm just trying to remind myself that the pitcher's the guy with his back against the wall and not try to do too much and put a good swing on something."
Getting the call for Minnesota on Monday will be veteran right-hander Kevin Correia, who was the team's most consistent a starter a year ago. Correia pitched well enough to win his first start on Wednesday in Chicago, as he allowed three runs (2 earned) and five hits in six innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 7-6 loss.
Oakland was 6-1 against the Twins last year and has won 11 of the last 13 matchups in the series.