OAKLAND, Calif. -- Michael Cuddyer slid into third with a go-ahead triple and came face to face with the same umpire who called him out at home to end the game a night earlier.
"Safe," Cuddyer said with a chuckle of Mike Muchlinski's words this time. "That was all I cared to hear."
Cuddyer's two-out triple in the 10th inning was sweet satisfaction some 24 hours after he was ruled out in a close call trying to score the tying run, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Before Cuddyer batted, manager Ron Gardenhire had some simple instructions.
"As I told him before walking up, 'This time be safe,' " Gardenhire said. "He made somebody else safe. That's a good thing."
Matt Guerrier (5-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win in this pitcher's duel, a far cry from the offensive slugfest these teams exhibited a night earlier in Oakland's 14-13 comeback victory. All-Star Joe Nathan finished for his 26th save in 28 chances and 20th straight.
Both Cuddyer and Gardenhire argued that Cuddyer had beaten Michael Wuertz's tag at the plate Monday -- and he looked safe on replay. Cuddyer threw his helmet down in disgust.
"I'm not pacing as much [tonight]," the slugger said.
Monday marked the biggest comeback in Oakland history and matched Minnesota's worst collapse. That game featured two grand slams, eight total home runs and 39 hits -- 22 by Oakland, which didn't have a strikeout.
There were only 11 hits Tuesday and runs were tough to come by. Gardenhire wasn't worried about his team moving forward from a pair of tough losses. The Twins lost in 12 innings Sunday at Texas.
"We used up all the hits and runs last night, both teams," Cuddyer said. "We can't do anything about it -- last night was last night."
Wuertz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Bailey followed with a perfect ninth before running into trouble in the 10th.
"We had good pitching tonight -- a lot different than last night, that's for sure," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Offensively we just had one little spurt there where we scored two runs on back-to-back hits. But after that they shut us down pretty good."
Since 2007, 12 of the 23 games between these teams have been decided by one run. Oakland is 2-7 in extra-inning games this year and 9-15 in one-run games.
Mauer was back in the Minnesota starting lineup after only a late-inning appearance Monday.
Twins third baseman Joe Crede also returned after missing two games with a sprained right shoulder. He got hurt making a diving catch Friday at Texas, but started Saturday before coming out with he felt tingling in his right hand.
Oakland starter Dallas Braden pitched seven strong innings, retiring eight of his final nine batters.
He had won two of his last three starts, but was tagged for a career-high 10 hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday. The left-hander and Oakland Opening Day starter came into Tuesday's outing with the second-lowest run support in the American League at 3.45.
Twins starter Anthony Swarzak also hung tough and was helped by double plays in the first, second and fifth.
Jack Cust's fourth-inning strikeout ended a stretch of 68 consecutive innings without a strikeout for Oakland, the club's longest such streak since doing so for 75 innings in a row from May 14-16, 1990.
Nathan hasn't given up a run in his last 24 appearances. ... Twins leadoff hitter Denard Span got the day off before a pinch-hit strikeout in the 10th and then a defensive appearance in the 10th. He is 2-for-19 on the road trip. ... Injured A's starter Justin Duchscherer, a two-time All-Star recovering from March elbow surgery, threw a 20-pitch simulated game in Arizona and is set to appear in a real game Monday.
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