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OAKLAND, CALIF. – To commemorate their final appearance ever at Oakland Coliseum, the Twins pitched a combined perfect game.

That's not how history will record it, but that's how it felt. One day after Bailey Ober retired the final 17 A's in a lopsided victory, Pablo López set down the first 17 A's he faced Sunday en route to a 3-0 shutout, the Twins' sixth victory over Oakland in seven games this month.

The 34 consecutive batters retired by the Twins, a streak ended when Lawrence Butler lined a two-out single to right field in the sixth inning, is the longest such streak in Twins history.

"It's crazy. An all-time Twins record, it's quite amazing," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It felt good to have guys out there just in control of what they're doing. You can kind of sit back a little bit and just let them work."

And for a change, that work was satisfying to López, who had given up at least one run in all 15 of his starts this season, and 28 runs in his previous six. López, third in the majors in home runs allowed, hadn't had a homer-free start since May 9.


"[When] you know that things are flowing, you find yourself executing good pitch after good pitch. [Catcher Christian] Vázquez would ask for a pitch in a location, and that's where my focus would be, just tunnel vision to that target," López said. "'This pitch has purpose. This pitch has meaning.' It's just like 100 percent focused on this action right here, right now."

Right here, right now, López was a different pitcher on the mound Sunday, dominating with sweepers moving out of the strike zone and fastballs above it. He struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced, and wound up with 14 whiffs overall, tying his career high. He gave up two hits, both singles, and one walk over eight innings.

How aware was he as the game went along that he hadn't allowed a baserunner?

"I was aware of it. Any pitcher that would say he wasn't would be lying, but it was about just one pitch at a time. What can I do to win this pitch?" said López, who added that he spent the previous week "simplifying" his approach so he wouldn't have multiple things to think about on the mound.

So what did he think when Butler's line drive reached the grass in right field, ending his pursuit of perfection? "Next pitch," he said. "That's it."

Standing in center field, Byron Buxton's reaction, he said, was … hey, wait a minute!

"I didn't even know the no-hitter was there until the base hit! That's how crazy it was, he was grooving and smooth," Buxton said. "I was watching pitches like this," he said, making sideways motions with his hand, "nothing straight or middle-middle. That kept them off-balance. It was one of those where [you think] 'That's Pablo!' "

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BOXSCORE: Twins 3, Oakland 0

An interesting point, because Sunday's game had a "That's Buck" feel to his performance, too. Buxton, batting only .210 on the road this year, smashed a 432-foot home run in the second inning. In the seventh, the Twins collected three consecutive hits, capped by Buxton's RBI double.

"It's a nice thing to see the ball explode off his bat like that. He's a special player and he can do things that you don't see every day," Baldelli said. "He had a really nice day today."

Yeah, Buxton noticed, too. "See ball, hit ball. Simplify and just go compete, that's it. Too much information," he said. "Trusting yourself is a big thing. Once you do, it's just going up there and having a quality at-bat and competing."

It was a nice way to finish off the Twins' long history at the Coliseum, where they compiled a 140-179 overall record, including 2-2 in the postseason.

"I would say this place has a soul. I don't know if I would say that about every single ballpark that I step into, but I can say it about the Coliseum," Baldelli said. "I'll miss the Coliseum. I'll miss all the great stuff and the not-so-great stuff. I'll miss all of it."