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Pablo López takes a perfect game into 6th and strikes out 14 to lead Twins past A’s 3-0

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Pablo López took a perfect game into the sixth inning and matched a career high with 14 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings as the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 3-0 on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series.

López (7-6) limited Oakland to two singles and a walk, retiring the first 17 batters he faced before Lawrence Butler singled on a line drive to right with two outs in the sixth.

“I was aware of it,” López said of the perfect game. “I think any pitcher that would say he wasn’t would be lying. But it was about just one pitch at a time, like what can I do to win this pitch? And keeping that mentality.”

Added Twins manager Rocco Baldelli: “He was on fire from the beginning. I mean, he had tremendous stuff from the first pitch of the outing to the last. Nothing wavered.”

Byron Buxton homered off Hogan Harris in the second and added an RBI double in the seventh to help the Twins improve to 16-4 against the AL West. Kyle Farmer drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.

“It’s a nice thing to see the ball explode off of (Buxton's) bat like that because he’s a special player and he can do things that you don’t see every day, things that not every guy can do,” Baldelli said.

Griffin Jax pitched the ninth inning for his seventh save in nine chances for the Twins, who have won 16 of their last 19 meetings with the A’s, including six of seven this season.

Harris (1-1) allowed three runs and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts while pitching into the seventh inning as Oakland fell to 6-17 against the AL Central.

“(Harris) had a nice start up until the seventh when he got touched up a little bit,” A's manager Mark Kotsay said. “But Hogan did a nice job as well today. ... The success that he’s having, maybe not wins and losses for him right now, it will translate to wins and losses if he continues to just make these steps in the right direction.”

The game was played in 2 hours, 11 minutes in front of a crowd of 18,491, the largest attendance of the season at the Oakland Coliseum.

1974 REUNION

Before the game, Oakland honored its 1974 World Series team. The championship marked the Athletics’ third in a row, one of just four three-peats in MLB history. World Series MVP Rollie Fingers spoke to the crowd and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

TRADE ALERT

The A’s traded infielder J.D. Davis and cash considerations to the New York Yankees for minor league infielder Jordan Groshans. Davis had been designated for assignment Tuesday after hitting .232 with four homers and five RBIs in 39 games with Oakland.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Max Kepler (neck spasms) remained out of the lineup for a third straight day after leaving Thursday’s game following a headfirst slide into first base.

Athletics: RHP Dany Jiménez was placed on the 15-day injured list with a Grade 2 left oblique strain. Kotsay estimated he would be out six to eight weeks. Oakland selected RHP Aaron Brooks from Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding move. ... INF Abraham Toro, placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday, underwent an MRI which revealed a Grade 1 right hamstring strain. “It’s not the worst, but it’s definitely a couple of weeks, for sure, in the timeline,” Kotsay said. ... RHP Vinny Nittoli cleared waivers and elected free agency.

UP NEXT

Twins: Following an off day, RHP Joe Ryan (5-5, 3.13 ERA) opens a three-game series at Arizona on Tuesday night opposite RHP Brandon Pfaadt (3-6, 4.37).

Athletics: RHP Luis Medina (1-2, 4.71) makes his fifth start of the season Monday night as Oakland begins a three-game series at the Angels. Los Angeles counters with RHP Griffin Canning (2-8, 5.02), who has lost all four of his starts in June.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB