MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Crisp's two-run homer in the eighth wins it for Oakland
OAKLAND, CA -- Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to power the Athletics to an 8-6 win over the Twins in Oakland last night. Jed Lowrie hit a three-run shot and Alberto Callaspo nailed a solo homer for Oakland, which has won seven out of nine. Sean Doolittle picked up the win in relief for the A's, who now have a magic number of four to clinch the AL West. Shairon Martis took the loss in relief for Minnesota after giving up the shot to Crisp. Chris Parmelee went 3-for-3 while Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo jack as the Twins lost their third in four games. The same two teams play in Oakland tonight.
The Wild thumped Winnipeg 4-1 in an NHL preseason game in Canada on Thursday night. Minnesota's Matthew Dumba, Charlie Coyle, Kris Foucault and Steven Kampfer scored the goals for Minnesota. The teams will meet again Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Minnesota is now 1-and-1 in the exhibition season.
The Wisconsin Badgers have been pegged as the preseason favorite to win the first-ever Big Ten Conference men's hockey championship. Wisconsin edged out Minnesota in a preseason vote of coaches. Michigan was chosen third, followed by Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State. Golden Gopher junior Kyle Rau of Eden Prairie was the lone unanimous selection for the preseason list of "Players to Watch." Rau was joined by Gopher sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox of South St. Paul and sophomore defenseman Mike Reilly of Chanhassen on the Watch List. Big Ten Men's Hockey Media Day was held in St. Paul today.
The University of Minnesota football team is into the final preparation stages of their week and getting ready to host San Jose State tomorrow morning at TCF Bank Stadium. The Golden Gophers are 3-and-0 on the season and will likely give redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner of Lakeville his first college start tomorrow. Regular starter Phillip Nelson of Mankato is nursing a sore hamstring. Leidner led Minnesota to four scoring drives in last week's 29-12 win over Western Illinois. Leidner says he has always prepared like he was going to start, so this week hasn't been a lot different from other weeks. Kickoff tomorrow is 11 a.m.
The Browns are filling the spot vacated by Trent Richardson with veteran Willis McGahee. Cleveland has signed the 31-year-old McGahee following a workout and physical. He ran for 731 yards and four touchdowns in ten games with the Broncos last season before going down with a torn knee ligament. He's expected to play this Sunday against the Vikings.
When the Vikings and Browns play on Sunday, it will mark the 15th time the two franchises have squared off. Minnesota leads the series with 11 wins and only three losses. The Vikes have won the last four encounters, including a 2005 win the last time Cleveland visited the Metrodome in a regular season game. That final was 24-12. The two teams last met in 2009 in Cleveland and the Purple beat the Browns 34-20 in that won. The last Cleveland victory in the series came in 1989 when the Browns beat the Vikings 23-17 in overtime in Cleveland. The Browns lone win in Minneapolis came in 1986, 23-20. This will be the first regular season game that Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier will oppose the Browns.
With the Vikings home opener just two days away, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota is warning fans to watch our for scammers that might be trying to hand off fake tickets. The BBB's Dan Hendrickson says always do your homework before buying tickets on-line and make sure you are working with a reputable company. Hendrickson says also be leery of buying tickets from scalpers near the Metrodome on game day. He says scammers have gotten quite good at counterfeiting tickets. The Vikings host the Cleveland Browns Sunday at noon.
The Minnesota Lynx open the WNBA playoffs with a home game tonight against Seattle. Lynx star guard Lindsay Whalen of Hutchinson says they must be able to "steal a couple of possessions here or there" if they want to control the series. Tip time this evening is 8 p.m. and tickets are still available. Here is the WNBA Western Conference semi-finals slate:
Friday: Seattle at Minnesota, 8pm
Sunday: Minnesota vs. Seattle, 4pm (in Tacoma)
Tuesday (9/24): Seattle at Minnesota, if necessary, time TBD