OAKLAND Coco Crisp hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the A's lowered their magic number to clinch the American League West to four with a back-and-forth 8-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Brian Dozier hit a tying RBI single in the top half of the eighth, then Oakland rallied once more just as this club has done so many times the past two seasons. Crisp connected for his 21st home run on a 2-1 pitch from Shairon Martis (0-1).
Jed Lowrie's three-run homer put the A's ahead 6-3 in the sixth after pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo tied it with a solo shot, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead.
Sean Doolittle (5-5) recorded the final four outs for the victory to end the 3-hour, 41-minute game in front of an announced crowd of just 11,461 fans.
Meanwhile, A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes missed Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels and Thursday's start against the Twins, but there's a chance he could be in the A's starting lineup for tonight's game with Minnesota.
Cespedes had a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder after Wednesday's game and told manager Bob Melvin on Thursday afternoon that he was, in the manager's words, "feeling real good."
"We're hoping he can play tomorrow," Melvin said, adding that for the time being the left fielder would be limited to work as the designated hitter.
Oakland's lineup is at its best when Cespedes is able to play left field, and that means he has to be able to throw.
"We want him in the outfield (rather than DH)," Melvin said. "He hasn't been able to throw. This (the cortisone shot) could speed us up."
Notes After essentially giving up on any chance of getting catcher John Jaso back this season after two months given away to a disabling concussion, the A's are wondering if Jaso can help them after all.
After this four-game series with the Twins is over, the A's will head to Anaheim for a series with the Angels and Jaso will take off for Arizona, where he will take part in instructional league games.
Melvin said he would like to get Jaso, who was his most productive catcher from an offensive standpoint before the injury in Houston, back if possible.
"The way I look at is as that maybe he can come back," Melvin said. "Three or four days ago, I was thinking there was no chance. But he's feeling much better. We'll see."
Crisp was voted winner of the team's annual Catfish Hunter Award, which was presented to him before Thursday's game. The award honors an A's player whose effort on the field "best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit" demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher.
The winner is determined by a vote of players, coaches and staff.
Crisp said he was "surprised and pretty amazed" to have won the award.
Compiled from The Associated Press and The Oakland Tribune.