Kielty's three-run homer powers Twins to win

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- One bad pitch cost Barry Zito dearly.


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Pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty hit a three-run homer in the eighth

inning, rallying the Minnesota Twins over the Oakland Athletics 4-3

Tuesday night.

Zito (6-4) breezed through the first seven innings, holding the

Twins to one hit and striking out a season-high 10. Minnesota hit

only one ball out of the infield in that span -- Corey Koskie's solo

homer in the fourth.

But Dustan Mohr doubled with one out in the eighth and Zito then

hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch. Kielty then connected for his

seventh home run.

"It's tougher to take than a regular loss,'' Zito said, noting

that he thought he had thrown his best game of the season until

that point.

Kielty can't play the field because of a ribcage injury, but the

pain that makes him unable to throw wasn't evident in his at-bat

against Zito.

After jumping ahead in the count at 2-0, he hit a fastball that

left the park but was foul by about six feet. On a 3-2 count, Zito

threw another fastball, and Kielty's drive stayed fair.

"After the first one, I thought, 'There was my chance,' Kielty

said. "But he got me out on a 3-2 fastball in Oakland last week.

So I was really just trying to look for that pitch.''

J.C. Romero (1-0) got two outs for the win. Eddie Guardado

pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save in as many opportunities.

Ramon Hernandez's two-run homer in the seventh inning put

Oakland ahead 2-1. Scott Hatteberg added an RBI double in the

eighth inning.

Kenny Rogers entered the seventh inning with a four-hit shutout,

but Miguel Tejada hit a leadoff double, and one out later,

Hernandez hit Kenny Rogers' first pitch into the left-field seats

for a 2-1 lead.

"I knew going against Barry I was going to have to do pretty

well,'' said Rogers, who gave up six hits and struck out five in

seven innings. "I made no mistakes but that one.''

Hatteberg's eighth-inning double came off Romero, who replaced

LaTroy Hawkins after Eric Byrnes doubled with one out.

Zito had good command of his curve early, striking out six Twins

in the first four innings, most of them on off-speed pitches. But

he tried to sneak a fastball by Koskie with one out in the fourth,

and Koskie hit it 424 feet.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play,'' Koskie said. "If

you look for his curveball, his fastball is pretty much on top of

you. That's why he's so good.''

After the homer, Zito retired the next 12 hitters. Torii Hunter

just missed tying the game with two out in the seventh. Adam Piatt

caught his fly ball a step in front of the left-field fence.

Meanwhile, Rogers matched Zito with his off-speed pitches,

fooling Eric Chavez so badly in the fourth that Chavez actually

recoiled the bat in mid-swing, popping out weakly to shortstop.

"He's a guy you never feel comfortable up there against,''

Hatteberg said. "He threw great today.''

Chavez went 0-for-4, dropping him to 5-for-56 (.089) this season

against lefties, the worst average of any major league regular.

Game notes

Twins reliever Mike Fetters was diagnosed with a muscle

strain in his right elbow during an MRI on Tuesday. The exam showed

no structural damage, but Fetters will be shut down for a week and

then begin a throwing program. ... Piatt's sixth-inning popup hit

the Metrodome roof and came down into third baseman Koskie's glove

for an out. ... Byrnes extended his hitting streak to a career-high

17 games with a sixth-inning single. ... Both teams had their

regular first basemen return to the starting lineup following ankle

injuries. Twins 1B Doug Mientkiewicz started for the first time

since May 18, while Hatteberg missed only one game. ... Minnesota's

bullpen has allowed just three earned runs in its last 23 innings.

... The A's fell to 25-2 when leading after seven innings. ...

Twins SS Cristian Guzman is hitless in his last four games, his

longest streak since August 25-28, 2000.