MLB: With Pablo Lopez on mound, Twins chase series win vs. A’s

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The visiting Minnesota Twins will be hoping for more of the same while the Oakland Athletics could try something different when the clubs wrap up a three-game series on Sunday afternoon.

The Twins rebounded from a 6-5 loss in Friday’s series opener by pounding A’s left-hander JP Sears for eight runs in 1 1/3 innings en route to a 10-2 shellacking Saturday.

The assault on left-handed pitching was nothing new for Minnesota. The Twins added to that against Sears, with nine of the 16 batters he faced getting hits — including a home run by Manuel Margot and doubles by Byron Buxton, Willi Castro and Jose Miranda.

The win improved Minnesota’s record against left-handed starters to 13-8 (.619). They are 29-27 (.518) against righties.

The offensive explosion came one day after the Twins had scheduled a party to celebrate Carlos Santana’s 2,000th major-league game. They weren’t in the mood to overdo it after Friday’s loss but were able to finally do it right Saturday.

“Guys like him who are able to play 2,000 games, they dedicate everything in their lives towards being able to fulfill that commitment to play baseball,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I like celebrating guys that dedicate their lives to something and set an example for all the people around them and do it in a way that we would all consider the right way.”

Shouldered with the unenviable task of slowing down the visitors’ assault on lefties will be Oakland’s Hogan Harris (1-0, 2.37), who didn’t have much success the lone time he saw the Twins in his career. That occurred last July when he served up five runs in four innings in a 10-7 home loss.

Harris has pitched well as a starter in his past four outings, going 1-0 with a 1.66 ERA. The 27-year-old recorded his first win of the season in his latest start, allowing just one earned run in five innings in a 7-5 home win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

Right-hander Pablo Lopez (6-6, 5.63) is expected to get the ball for the Twins as he hopes to turn around a troubled month of June. He has failed to pitch into the sixth inning in any of his three starts this month, going 1-1 with a 9.69 ERA.

The 28-year-old is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA in three career starts against the A’s.

Lopez will have to check the scouting report on new A’s infielder Armando Alvarez. He was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday when the club had to put Abraham Toro on the injured list with a hamstring issue.

The eight-year minor-leaguer would be making his major league debut should he get into the game Sunday. He reached Triple-A without making the big club previously with the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

“Great story,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of the 29-year-old Alvarez, who was hitting .311 with eight homers at the time of his call-up. “In spring training, we identified a bat that could probably get here at some point in the year.

“With Toro’s injury, we thought it was the right time to give this kid an opportunity to come here and to be a part of this group and see what he’s capable of doing.”

–Field Level Media

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