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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: A's AL West lead continues to grow at Twins' expense

MINNEAPOLIS (Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics added to their AL West lead with another lopsided win over the Minnesota Twins in advance of a critical set against the Texas Rangers.

A.J. Griffin was stellar over seven innings and the Oakland bats cooled off, only slightly, in Thursday's series-clinching 8-2 triumph at Target Field. Griffin (14-9) won his fourth straight start after holding the Twins to two hits, one a solo homer by Oswaldo Arcia that put Minnesota on the board in the seventh. The Oakland right-hander struck out six of the first nine batters he faced and finished with eight punchouts to only one walk. Coming off an 18-3 rout on Wednesday, Oakland got a two-run homer from Josh Reddick. Reddick added a sacrifice fly, and Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run triple to highlight a four-run third inning for the Athletics, who will carry a 3 1/2 game lead in the division standings over the Rangers into this weekend's showdown at Arlington. Scott Diamond's return to the majors got off to a promising start, as the Minnesota left-hander retired seven in a row to begin his outing. However, Diamond (5-11), making his first start for the Twins since Aug. 1, ran into trouble in the third and failed to complete five frames. He allowed five runs -- four earned -- on six hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. 


Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer suffered a setback in his attempt to return to the lineup following a concussion last month.  Mauer had to shut down his workout Wednesday as he felt concussion-like symptoms and was sent home from Target Field.  GM Terry Ryan says it was Mauer's first setback since he was hit in the head by a foul tip August 19th against the Mets.  He says he hopes Mauer comes back to the ballpark today feeling better.      


The WNBA Minnesota Lynx take the league's best record into their final regular season road game of the year tonight in Los Angeles.  The Lynx are 25-7 and have won seven consecutive games.  Meanwhile, the home team Sparks are 22-and-10 and secure in the number-two Western Conference playoff seed, behind top-seed Minnesota.  Tipoff tonight is 9:30 p.m.