- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Athletics are starting to see the type of progress from rookie pitcher Sean Manaea they had hoped for after calling up the left-hander from the minors in late April.

It helps when manager Bob Melvin’s ballclub scores some runs and plays good defense, too.

Manaea pitched six strong innings and worked out of a bases-loaded jam to pick up his second career win, and the A’s won their fifth straight game with a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

Oakland went into the game last in the AL in several offensive categories before getting 11 hits off the Twins. It’s the second time in as many days that the A’s reached double-digit hit totals.

“We have a few guys that are swinging the bat well, bullpen’s pitched pretty well, defense has been much better,” Melvin said. “You put all that together and typically you run off a few wins. In our case it’s five right now.”

Danny Valencia had three hits, including two doubles, Billy Butler added two hits and an RBI while Jake Smolinski homered and Jed Lowrie singled twice and scored two runs for the A’s.

The five-game winning streak is one shy of their season high.

“Usually we’ve been a team that puts a big inning together, but it was just consistent production up and down the lineup today,” Butler said. “The boys are motivated, boys are playing together.We’re wanting to keep the streak going.”

Since coming off the disabled list on May 6, Valencia, the A’s third baseman is batting .378 (31 for 82) with eight home runs and 19 RBIs.

Brian Dozier doubled, walked and scored the lone run for Minnesota. The Twins have lost three straight after sweeping Seattle on the road.

“Offensively we didn’t have a good series,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “The offense we saw in Seattle didn’t make the trip south.”

Manaea (2-3) allowed one run and five hits to snap a two-game skid. The rookie left-hander had a season-high eight strikeouts with three walks.

“Those first couple starts I was just trying to take everything in and just experience everything,” Manaea said. “Right now it’s like I’m here and it’s my job. I’ve got to go out and have that dominant mindset like nobody’s going to get a hit off me.”

Three relievers combined to finish off the win.

Pat Dean (1-2) took the loss and allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings in his third career start.

SPEEDY BUTLER

Butler will never be known for his quickness but the hefty first baseman surprised the Twins when he broke for third on a wild pitch after doubling leading off the second. Butler was safe without a throw and eventually scored on Billy Burns’ two-out infield single. The run likely wouldn’t have scored had Butler not moved up a base. “I know it’s a different answer if I get thrown out there,” Butler said. “I can’t say I get us a run with my legs too much so I’ll take it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: Miguel Sano was placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury suffered Tuesday. Sano will undergo an MRI when the team returns to Minnesota. … Max Kepler went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after getting called up from Triple-A Rochester before the game.

Athletics: Sonny Gray will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Stockton. If all goes well, the team hopes to have the right-hander back in the rotation June 10 at Cincinnati. … LHP Rich Hill (groin) threw off a mound without pain and is slated to start Saturday in Houston. … RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) threw 40 pitches off a mound and could make a rehab start next week.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-3) pitches the opener of a four-game series against Tampa Bay on Thursday in his first start since going on the DL with a right shoulder strain.

Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn (2-2) faces Houston on Friday in his fourth start since being called up from the minors for the second time this season. Hahn has a 4.91 ERA since rejoining the big league club.

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