Scott Sizemore, Hideki Matsui combine to lift A's over Twins

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Guillermo Moscoso got off to another rocky start. This time, the rookie right-hander didn't let it get out of control.

Moscoso pitched into the seventh inning, Scott Sizemore hit a three-run double and the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3 on Saturday night.

Hideki Matsui singled twice and reached five times for the A's, who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Twins. Matsui is batting a major league-best .473 since the All-Star break.

Moscoso (4-5) allowed two runs -- both coming in the first two frames -- and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. Moscoso's second win in his last 11 outings reminded manager Bob Melvin of the pitcher who won his first two starts of the year.

"I think he was tired of seeing some of the results he was getting the last couple of games, getting behind in counts and being more predictable than he should be," Melvin said. "It was good to see. He went out there with a lot of focus, especially in the middle innings."

Oakland also got three hits from Conor Jackson and two from Coco Crisp, who is being mentioned in trade rumors as Sunday's non-waiver deadline approaches.

The A's appeared to be close to sending right-hander Rich Harden to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, but the trade fell through.

"It's definitely a strange position to be in, but from what I hear I'm here and I'm staying here," Harden said. "I'm happy to be an 'A.' ... It's definitely a strange position to be in."

The 27-year-old Moscoso gave up 11 earned runs over his previous 9 2/3 innings, but was much better against Minnesota. He retired 14 of 16 during one stretch and left with a 7-2 lead.

"They were getting me pretty early, so I started mixing up all those pitches and tried to get ahead in the count," Moscoso said. "That's what I did after the second inning and that was the key through the sixth."

Brad Ziegler, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey completed the eight-hitter for the A's.

Jim Thome had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which missed an opportunity to gain ground on AL Central-leading Detroit. The Tigers lost 5-1 to the Los Angeles Angels.

"One of the worst defensive nights," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Balls can't go rolling through the infield -- it's not acceptable around here, yet it happened. A terrible defensive game and there you have it."

Nick Blackburn (7-8) struggled again for Minnesota, charged with seven runs, six earned, and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander walked five and struck out two.

Blackburn also started the Twins' 20-6 loss to Texas last Monday and was tagged for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Cliff Pennington extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games and scored the go-ahead run in the second for Oakland. The A's have at least eight hits in 15 consecutive games, matching their longest such streak in Oakland history set in 1980.

Matsui, Oakland's biggest offseason acquisition, hit .209 in the first half but has been on a tear since the break. He walked in his first two plate appearances, singled and scored in the fifth and reached on a fielder's choice in the sixth.

Michael Cuddyer hit an RBI single in the first for Minnesota, winning a nine-pitch battle with Moscoso. Thome doubled and scored on Delmon Young's single to make it 2-1 in the second.

Oakland pushed across two runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good. Jemile Weeks drove in Pennington with a triple, making it 3-2.

Game notes
The A's placed RHP Michael Wuertz on the 15-day disabled list with a thumb injury and recalled LHP Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Sacramento. ... RF David DeJesus was pulled in the third inning with what the A's announced as right thumb soreness. ... Twins star Joe Mauer went into the game with a career .324 average at the Coliseum but went 0 for 4.