- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Danny Valencia opened May on the disabled list. He closed it as one of the hottest hitters in baseball.

Valencia homered and drove in three runs, Stephen Vogt had three hits and drove in two and the Oakland Athletics won their fourth straight, beating the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on Tuesday night.

“It’s nice to be back, nice to help the team win and be relatively healthy,” Valencia said. “We’re feeling good about ourselves.”

Marcus Semien and Billy Burns each had two hits and drove in a run for the A’s, who beat the Twins at home for the 15th time in 18 games.

Ryan Dull (1-0) ended a scoring threat in the fifth and finished with 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. He has yet to allow a hit to his first batter (0 for 21) nor has he allowed any of his 21 inherited runners to score.

“It’s a good feeling we have in here,” Vogt said. “We’re playing good, complete baseball. We’re coming up with timely hitting, something we weren’t doing earlier.”

Twins outfielder Miguel Sano left the game after straining his left hamstring running to first base in the third.

Starter Eric Surkamp, called up from Triple-A to make the start, lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out two.

Sano, Byung Ho Park, Robbie Grossman and Kurt Suzuki each drove in a run for the Twins, who lost their second straight following a four-game winning streak. Grossman had a career-high three doubles.

Tyler Duffey (2-4) gave up at least five runs for a third consecutive start after giving up eight runs - five earned - through his first four starts combined. He allowed a career-high matching 10 hits, walked one and struck out six.

“Once I got out there, I could just feel I was fighting myself mechanic-wise,” Duffey said. “I was pulling off of the front side. I tried to make the adjustment but in the first inning my sinkers were really taking off.”

Valencia’s two-run double in the fifth snapped a 3-all tie, though the Twins got a run back in the eighth. Valencia has nine hits in his last 14 at-bats (.643) and has driven in 19 runs in 21 games since coming off the disabled list.

“My swing is a lot different and I have a better approach,” Valencia said. “I have a better understanding of myself.”

John Axford worked the ninth for his first save in three chances.


Twins: OF Byron Buxton was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take the place of OF Danny Salazar, who went on the DL with a left hamstring strain. Buxton was named International League player of the week. “I got myself back together and was ready to come back up,” he said.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray threw about 50 pitches, some in a bullpen and some to hitters. “I definitely felt like the ball was coming out of my hand nice and easy,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back out there.” Gray is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Thursday. … RHP R.J. Alvarez threw to hitters for the first time and A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was so encouraged that Alvarez will pitch an inning Friday for Class A Stockton. … RHP Zach Neal was sent to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Surkamp.


Twins: LHP Pat Dean (1-1, 3.43) is scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale. The rookie will be making his third career start and he’s coming off his first victory.

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (1-3, 7.03) will make his seventh career start on Wednesday, and his sixth at home. He’s 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA over his past three starts.

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