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The Sports Xchange, Published September 10 2013

Willingham's two homers spark Twins' win

MINNEAPOLIS – Josh Willingham hit two home runs to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Target Field.

It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams, and good pitching and home runs for each team were the highlights. But it was Willingham’s eighth-inning blast with the Twins down 3-2 and a runner on first base that made the difference.

Aside from a few long balls, Athletics starter Jarrod Parker held the Twins in check. He completed six innings, throwing 101 pitches and giving up two runs, seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts. The no-decision extended Parker’s streak of consecutive starts without a loss to 19.

Twins starter Liam Hendriks threw 96 pitches in 5Zc innings, allowing three runs, seven hits and no walks with six strikeouts.

Hendriks pitched strong early but started leaking oil in the fifth. When the problem continued in the sixth, he hit the showers.

Josh Donaldson led off the sixth with a single. Hendriks hit his second batter of the game and then Yoenis Cespedes singled to left, scoring Donaldson to extend the A’s lead 3-1.

Caleb Thielbar relieved Hendriks and got out of the inning with a double play on a flyout and throw by center fielder Alex Presley.

The Twins came back when Oswaldo Arcia scored their second run in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer into the right-field bleachers. His 11th home run of the season pulled the Twins to within one run.

After Willingham homered off Ryan Cook (who took the loss), giving reliever Anthony Swarzak the win, Twins closer Glen Perkins came on in the ninth and shut down the A’s in order for his 34th save.

Willingham opened the scoring in the second inning with his 13th home run of the season – a bomb into the bullpen in center field. Parker gave up four hits in the early going, but the homer was the only one that hurt him.

Hendriks had some early success against a strong Athletics lineup. He faced only 13 batters in four innings, striking out five of them.

But in the fifth inning, Hendriks hit Cespedes before Alberto Callaspo blasted a two-run homer over the right-field fence to make it 2-1.