OAKLAND - While the Minnesota Twins are looking to claw their way into Wild Card contention, the A's immediate goal is to get manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory.
That is proving quite task, as Oakland lost its fifth consecutive game Friday since their skipper posted win No. 999. Rookie Daniel Gossett didn't make it out of the fourth inning in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins before 17,727 fans at the Coliseum. The A's also squandered a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the second, a bad omen as the home team lost for the ninth time in the past 11 games.
Twins lefty Jaime Garcia, making his first start since being acquired earlier in the week from Atlanta, worked 6 2/3 innings to get the victory. There is speculation about whether Minnesota, which came in having lost seven of its past 10, might turn around and flip Garcia to a contender. That remains to be seen.
The A's have decisions to make themselves as Monday's non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the main one being whether to deal No. 1 starter Sonny Gray, who is scheduled to pitch Sunday's series finale against former Athletic Bartolo Colon.
GOSSETT'S STRUGGLES: Gossett is trying to prove he should stick in the rotation as Jharel Cotton and Kendall Graveman near a return to the rotation. But the right-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings and gave up nine hits and four earned runs with three walks and two wild pitches. Gossett's ERA rose to 5.74 after his ninth start since being recalled from the minors.
JEKYLL AND HYDE ‘D': What to make of this A's defense? On Friday, third baseman Matt Chapman turned in one of the finest plays of Oakland's season, making a diving backhand stop of Miguel Sano's sharp grounder and beginning a dazzling 5-4-3 double play. Second baseman Adam Rosales made a strong throw to home to complete an 8-4-2 putout. Matt Joyce made a great running catch in right field. But the A's also committed two errors. That included a fourth-inning sequence where Marcus Semien sailed a throw to first base for what could have been ruled an error. Ryon Healy's throw home was in time to get Brian Dozier, breaking from third, but catcher Ryan Lavarnway couldn't hold on to the ball to make the tag.
A LONG TIME COMING: The A's cut into a 5-0 deficit in the fourth when Lavarnway doubled home two runs. It marked Lavarnway's first major league hit since Oct. 4, 2015, when he was with Atlanta. He was called up from the minors Thursday when Josh Phegley joined the 10-day disabled list with a strained oblique.
GETTING CLOSER: Graveman is scheduled to start Saturday for Triple-A Nashville, and Melvin hinted that his Opening Night starter could come off the disabled list after that outing.
NOT THAT YOU ASKED, BUT …: When the A's lost four straight in Toronto, it marked the second time they've been swept in a four-game series this season. That hadn't happened since 1997, when Oakland got swept in three different four-game series.