MINNEAPOLIS - A.J. Griffin allowed just two hits in seven innings and the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2 Thursday afternoon to increase their division lead heading into a crucial weekend series.
Josh Reddick homered and had three RBIs for Oakland, which has a 3½ game lead over idle Texas in the American League West. It is Oakland's largest lead over the Rangers since Aug. 3. The teams are to scheduled play a three-game series this weekend in the Lone Star State.
Oswaldo Arcia homered for Minnesota, which has lost six of eight.
In winning his fourth straight start, Griffin (14-9) struck out eight and walked just one batter.
Making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A, Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (5-11) allowed five runs - four earned - in 4 2-3 innings.
He struck out six of the first nine batters he faced, including four straight, and lowered his opponents' batting average to .165 the first time through the lineup, the lowest mark in the majors among pitchers with at least 130 innings pitched.
Other than allowing Arcia's homerun in the seventh, Griffin, who has served up a major league leading 34 homeruns, didn't have many problems the rest of the way.
Minnesota had two runners on with one out in the fourth, but Arcia lined out to second baseman Alberto Callaspo and Brian Dozier was doubled off first. Dozier had walked.
Making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester, Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (5-11) lasted just 4 2-3 innings. He allowed five runs - four earned - on six hits while striking out one.
Before the game, manager Ron Gardenhire said that Diamond appears to be a much more confident pitcher than he was before his Aug. 1 demotion. In six minor league starts, Diamond was 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA.
The left-hander barely broke a sweat in retiring the A's in order in the first two innings before the Oakland hitters forced Diamond deep into counts.
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