Josh Willingham hit a walk-off, three-run homer off A’s closer Brian Fuentes to rally the Minnesota Twins to a 3-2 victory Tuesday and send his former team to its seventh straight defeat.
Three A’s pitchers combined on a shutout until the ninth, when Jamey Carroll singled and Denard Span walked ahead of Willingham, who blasted a 1-0 sinker from Fuentes (2-1) into the Twins’ bullpen in left-center.
Willingham signed with the Twins in the offseason after he hit .246 with 29 home runs and 98 RBIs for the A’s last season.
A’s starter Jarrod Parker and Minnesota native Cole De Vries started out in an unlikely pitchers’ duel between a pair of rookies. Parker allowed four hits and four walks in six scoreless innings, and De Vries scattered two hits over five scoreless frames in his first start at Target Field.
Colin Cowgill broke the scoreless tie with a single to left off Brian Duensing to score Kurt Suzuki, and Coco Crisp added an RBI single in the eighth for a 2-0 lead.
Glen Perkins (1-1) worked around three walks in a scoreless ninth for the win.
NOTES: Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 0-for-5 to snap his eight-game hitting streak. ... Crisp was dropped to eighth in the batting order, the first time he has hit below the third spot this season. He went 2-for-2 to break out of a 2-for-29 slump. ... The A’s have scored only 14 runs in their past eight games and rank last in the American League with 164 runs scored. ... A’s left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle — a former first base prospect who switched to pitching more than halfway through last season — has moved from Class-A Stockton to Double-A Midland (Texas) to Triple-A Sacramento in less than two months. Doolittle, 25, had a 0.84 ERA in Class-A and Double-A, with 40 strikeouts in 21¹⁄³ innings.