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OAKLAND, CALIF. – In a doomed former football stadium that the Twins will never visit again after this weekend, it all somehow seemed appropriate Friday night that the Twins and Athletics took turns punting away the lead.

Jhoan Duran gave what could have been an unlikely victory one last boot, and the A's handed the Twins their third consecutive one-run loss, 6-5 at Oakland Coliseum.

Duran, summoned in the eighth inning to protect a one-run lead against a team the Twins swept in four games last weekend, hit Tyler Soderstrom with a curveball, then served up a splitter that didn't sink to A's home run leader Shea Langeliers. It cleared the left-field fence in a hurry, handing Duran his first blown save of the year, but his third loss.

"It wasn't moving at all. When I do some pitches like that, the hitter's got a chance. They take it," said Duran, who has given up four home runs this season. "I didn't try to throw in the middle of the zone. I tried to throw more down. But that's where it was today."


He was hardly the only culprit, however. Chris Paddack fought through nearly five innings, feeling a "dead arm" again, he said, yet holding the A's to a single run in a 1-1 game. But when he gave up back-to-back two-out hits in the firth, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli summoned lefthander Kody Funderburk to make his first major league appearance in almost a month.

Things unraveled quickly. One pitch, matter of fact. Tyler Soderstrom bashed Funderburk's first pitch to the center-field wall, a two-run double.

Worse, Langeliers followed with a hard-hit single that brought Soderstrom home, and the Twins suddenly trailed by three.

"Nothing we tried went smoothly tonight," Baldelli said with a shrug. "We get Fundy in there and obviously — it's hard."

Still, the Twins, whose aggressive approach against rookie A's starter Joey Estes — six batters put Estes' first pitch in play, six more his second — had yielded only one run, finally added another in the sixth inning on, yep, Royce Lewis' daily home run.

Lewis now has 10 home runs in 16 games this season, nine in 15 games since coming off the injured list and three in the past three games. Unfortunately, the Twins have lost all three, each in their opponent's final at-bat.

Lewis' blast also had the effect of convincing Oakland manager Mark Kotsay to go to his bullpen in the next inning, though Estes had thrown only 79 pitches. It went no better than Baldelli's decision to lift Paddack, and almost as quickly.

Christian Vázquez lined a one-out single off A's reliever Austin Adams, and Austin Martin drew a walk.

Up stepped Willi Castro, who lifted an 0-1 fastball toward the right-field foul pole. It somehow stayed fair, a three-run homer that turned the Twins' deficit into a sudden 5-4 lead.

BOXSCORE: Oakland 6, Twins 5

Jorge Alcala protected it with a 1-2-3 seventh, and the Twins had a chance to expand their lead in the eighth. But with runners on first and third base and two outs, Martin was picked off first base by reliever Sean Newcomb, who had thrown only two pitches in relief of Lucas Erceg.

"It's not a mix-up. We're just trying to take second base," Baldelli said. "I gave him the green light. I want him to try to be aggressive and make a play if he thinks he's got it. And sometimes they pick when that happens."

When the A's rallied in the bottom of the inning, Newcomb became the 27th major league pitcher, and first in the Athletics' 124-year history, to be credited with a victory without officially facing a batter.

Duran played a role in that, too, of course.

"I'm not thinking too much about that. I missed a pitch, he got a homer," Duran said. "I'd do the same thing. Not all the pitches will move.".