10/06/06 7:25 PM ET
Athletics Short Hops: Game 3
Oakland sweeps away Minnesota for ALCS berth
By Ryan Quinn / MLB.com
In < 35 words...
Dan Haren tossed six quality innings against the Twins and Marco Scutaro had a three-run double in the seventh inning to give the A's an 8-3 win and series sweep against Minnesota.
Minnesota had two on and one out in the sixth inning with the A's leading 4-1, when Rondell White slapped a single to right field. Justin Morneau scored easily from third, but Bradley threw a strike to Jason Kendall at the plate to tag out Torii Hunter at home. Haren struck out Jason Tyner on a split-finger fastball to end the threat.
Three. The A's drew three walks in the seventh and all of them scored when Scutaro had his big double. The A's have been criticized in the past in the playoffs for being too patient at the plate, but it paid off on Friday.
Haren -- three: The righty's only big mistake was a solo homer given up to Hunter in the fourth. Haren wasn't as dominant as his last start against the Twins -- when he threw eight scoreless innings -- but kept the ball down in the zone most of the day and trusted his brilliant defense behind him.
Milton Bradley and Eric Chavez -- four: The A's sluggers broke out of their postseason slumps with homers off Brad Radke for their first hits of the postseason.
Scutaro -- five: For the third straight game, Scutaro came up big for the A's offense. He had two run-scoring doubles and the second scored three insurance runs for the A's bullpen.
Frank Thomas -- one: Thomas had a single in the fifth, but later in the inning the slow running "Big Hurt" broke for home on a ground ball and was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Jason Bartlett for the second out.
Sense of October
Oakland has finally erased its demons from the four previous ALDS and has advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 1992. Before Friday, the A's were 0-9 in series clinching games during the ALDS.
Lines of the games
2 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 RBI
Comment: Chavez came into the 2006 playoffs with a .224 postseason batting average and was hitless in his first eight at-bats in the first two games against the Twins. But Chavez had a big homer off Radke into the right-field bleachers in the second and an opposite-field double off the left-field wall in the fifth.
6 IP, 2 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 89 pitches, 59 strikes
Comment: Haren has had a number of awful starts this season, but he stepped it up on Friday just as Barry Zito and Esteban Loaiza did in the first two games
"I'm [real] happy for [Eric Chavez and Barry Zito]. I am happy for the coaching staff. For the most part, we have been here through all of those [bad losses], and some of them have been kind of bitter disappointments, going down to Game 5 and having one play decide it." -- A's manager Ken Macha, on the franchise reaching the ALCS
The A's will take on either the Tigers or the Yankees next Tuesday in Game 1 of the ALCS. If Detroit advances, the A's will have home-field advantage in the best-of-seven series. If New York moves on, Oakland will open the series on the road.
Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.