OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Brandon McCarthy felt off from the moment he stepped on the mound - in the bullpen, for his warmup tosses.
His night didn't last long after that, either.
Oakland's opening day starter was done after just 3 1-3 innings of a 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday night, when the Athletics learned they would have a new player in the middle of their infield come Tuesday: veteran shortstop Stephen Drew.
The team announced late in the game it had acquired Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson. And Oakland's players found out when the swap was announced over the public address system.
``He plays the same position, so I guess we'll see what happens,' current shortstop Cliff Pennington said.
There were some mixed emotions after the game, considering there will be moves made to clear roster space for Drew.
``It's like anything, when a new person comes in, there's something that has to happen to someone that you like, and that's never a fun thing,' McCarthy said. ``Things like this aren't too surprising.'
Oakland had its five-game home winning streak snapped with just the club's 11th defeat in 37 games at the Coliseum since June 6.
McCarthy (6-5) surrendered three straight one-out hits in the first inning, including Josh Willingham's RBI double. Trevor Plouffe drew a bases-loaded walk as the Twins took a quick 2-0 lead.
McCarthy's night was done after he gave up Willingham's third hit, an infield single in the fourth. Travis Blackley pitched 5 2-3 innings in relief.
McCarthy was knocked out for his shortest outing since also going 3 1-3 innings on Aug. 12 last year against Texas. His 10 hits allowed matched his second-highest total of the season and he was tagged for a season-high six runs.
``Beginning to end, mechanically I felt completely out of whack,' he said. ``I just didn't feel I had any idea where the ball was going. I was horrible in the bullpen. Nothing at any point felt right. It's been a long time since I've had a day like this where I want a rewind button to get back to the beginning and start over.'
The lanky right-hander has lost consecutive starts during a three-start winless streak that followed a 6-0 stretch over seven outings before going on the disabled list from June 24-Aug. 10 with a strained throwing shoulder.
``It was completely one of those days almost mentally just write off as fast as you can as just being a fluke thing and get back to work,' he added.
Willingham drove in two runs against his former team, Joe Mauer hit a two-run single and the Twins snapped Oakland's four-game winning streak and a five-game skid of their own.
Brian Duensing (3-8) struck out seven and walked one in six innings to win for the first time in three starts after consecutive losses, helping the Twins bounce back from a three-game weekend sweep at Seattle to begin a 10-game road trip.
Darin Mastroianni had an RBI single and added a sacrifice fly in the eighth and No. 9 hitter Pedro Florimon joined Willingham and Mauer with three hits apiece for Minnesota, which went 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position a day after missing in all 10 such chances in the series finale at Seattle.
Coming off a series sweep in Seattle that dropped them a season-low 15 games out of first place in the AL Central, the Twins came through with the big hits when it mattered.
``Right from the get-go. We got some runs in there early, had a little bit of a lead and kept getting some base hits and quality at_bats,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``And Duens did his thing. It was a nice night. We got to run around the bases a little bit. Some guys had some good nights.'
Josh Donaldson hit a run-scoring double and Josh Reddick added an RBI groundout for the A's, who had won four straight games to move a season high-tying 10 games over .500 - but they missed going 11 games over for the first time since finishing the 2006 season at 93-69. That team was the last to make the playoffs, reaching the ALCS before being swept in four games by the Tigers.
Derek Norris had two hits to lead Oakland, which couldn't do much against the left-handed Duensing, who allowed two runs and five hits.
The A's seemed to appreciate the front office's efforts to keep improving the surprise contender.
``He's a good player, so if he comes along and jumps in and fits in and helps us win, we're all for it,' second baseman Jemile Weeks said of Drew. ``I guess they're trying to make a push.'
Former Oakland star Willingham received scattered boos from the small crowd of 10,274 when he came to the plate in the first. Most of those fans were gone by the late innings with the A's trailing.
Minnesota ended a three-game skid in the series with the A's after being swept at home in the teams' first games following the All-Star break. The Twins took all three meetings in late May.
Notes: A's LHP Brett Anderson is back from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, set to make his season debut Tuesday night. Anderson was activated from the 60-day DL on Monday, ready to pitch in the major leagues again for the first time since undergoing surgery 13 months ago. ... Coco Crisp of the A's stole his 27th base. ... McCarthy was handed his first career loss to the Twins in five starts and 10 appearances. He beat Minnesota on July 31 with a nine-strikeout performance. ... Oakland will make corresponding moves to its 25- and 40-man rosters upon the arrival of Drew, who returned in late June from a serious ankle injury that sidelined him for 137 games. He is hitless in his last 15 at_bats.
The Associated Press News Service
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