Bailey Ober tosses 4-hitter and strikes out 10 in 1st career complete game as Twins rout A's 10-2

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Bailey Ober struck out 10 in a four-hitter for his first career complete game and the Minnesota Twins used a seven-run second inning to rout the Oakland Athletics 10-2 on Saturday.

Ober (7-4) needed just 89 pitches to finish while tying a career high in strikeouts and walking none in the 13th complete game in the majors this season.

It was the fewest pitches in a complete game by a Twins pitcher since Carlos Silva in 2005. It was also just Minnesota's fifth complete game of fewer than 90 pitches since pitch counts started getting tracked in 1988.

Ober allowed two runs on solo homers by JJ Bleday and Tyler Soderstrom in the first two innings. The 28-year-old threw just 19 balls, his performance eliciting a Greg Maddux-like comparison from A's manager Mark Kotsay and praise from his skipper Rocco Baldelli.

Baldelli said he looked up in the eighth inning and saw Ober had thrown under 20 balls.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that in my life, and I've seen some exceptional pitching performances," Baldelli said. “It was just nothing but effectiveness everywhere you looked.”

Ober got A's batters to swing early in the count, and his offspeed pitches were effective. Ober also faced the A's in Minnesota last week, allowing a run in 6 1/3 innings in a win, and noticed their aggressiveness — which he took advantage of Saturday.

He noted a complete game as a “personal goal,” and it was his first since pitching at the College of Charleston.

“As a starting pitcher, that’s the goal every single game, is to go out there and finish the whole game,” Ober said.

After the seventh inning, Ober told pitching coach Pete Maki: “I'm finishing this thing.” He had a lot more energy left, striking out the side in the eighth and the leadoff hitter in the ninth.

“He just got the lead, pounded the zone and made us beat him,” Kotsay said. “We didn’t have any success with that.”

Manuel Margot hit a three-run homer in Minnesota's big inning against JP Sears (4-7). Jose Miranda and Carlos Correa each had three hits for the Twins, who snapped a three-game skid.

The A’s had won three of four before Saturday’s defeat in front of an announced crowd of 9,299.

Margot, who got his 700th career hit on a leadoff single in the first, blasted his three-run shot to kick off the scoring in the second. The Twins sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning, with the first six reaching base and tied a season-high for runs in an inning. Every batter in the starting lineup except for Carlos Santana had a hit.

Sears, who has lost four straight starts, lasted just 1 1/3 innings while allowing eight runs and nine hits. He also hit three batters, including consecutive hitters in the first that forced in a run. Sears has struggled against the Twins, also losing to them last week when he allowed four runs in 4.1 innings.

“At one point in the game, they were firing swing after swing at balls in the zone, and we saw that throughout the game,” Kotsay said. “Real tough day for JP and one that we’ll just turn the page on.”

After Margot’s homer in the second, Miranda – who also had three RBIs – knocked in a pair to make it 6-1. Byron Buxton and Kyle Farmer each had RBI singles to cap the seven-run frame.

Bleday, whose solo homer tied it for the A’s at 1 in the first, extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.

Soderstrom's homer in the second cut Oakland's deficit to 8-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Max Kepler (neck spasms) was not in the lineup for the second straight game after leaving Thursday’s game while sliding headfirst into first base. Baldelli said Kepler felt better Friday and was available off the bench.

Athletics: IF Abraham Toro (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 10-day injured list and IF Armando Alvarez was selected from Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding move. Alvarez entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement, making his MLB debut.

UP NEXT

LHP Hogan Harris (1-0, 2.37 ERA) is scheduled to start for the A's against RHP Pablo Lopez (6-6, 5.63 ERA) for the Twins in the final game of the three-game series.

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