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OAK@TEX: Kazmir fires five frames of two-run ball

Scott Kazmir had a rare bad start his last time out, but the Twins might just be the team to help him fix whatever bothered the A's lefty last time out.

In Kazmir's career against Minnesota -- to whom he hasn't lost since 2009, as a member of the Rays -- he is 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA, his lowest mark against any American League team.

The southpaw lasted six innings against the Royals on Sunday but was doomed by a four-run fifth during which he gave up four consecutive hits and five total, along with a walk.

"One bad inning," said Kazmir. "I don't look too far into it. I know what I did wrong. It was a couple pitches that were up in the zone, and they were in hitters' counts. Something you can't do, especially to hitters like that."

Kazmir scattered 10 hits in all and struck out two in the loss, his first since June 24 to the Mets in New York.

"Just got a couple balls up and missed location on a few pitches, but really not all that bad," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Balls weren't hit all that hard, found some holes."

Kazmir might have a sneakily tough bounceback attempt against Kyle Gibson, a second-year right-hander who has proved himself a solid rotation piece for Minnesota this year while leading the team in ERA (3.93).

"He feels he belongs now, and I think he has a lot of confidence now," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "It's just about going out and doing it on a day-to-day basis when you get the ball. We think he's going to head our rotation for a few years to come."

Gibson has often dominated when he's on, recording a 0.96 ERA across his 10 wins and a 0.83 ERA when pitching at least seven innings. He's coming off his 12th quality start in 21 tries on Sunday after limiting the White Sox to three runs on six hits over seven innings.

"As a starter, I want to go out there and throw six, seven, eight innings every time," Gibson said.

A's: Lowrie expected to start Friday
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said on Thursday he is "almost certain" shortstop Jed Lowrie will return to the A's lineup on Friday after missing three starts because of a bruised right index finger.

Lowrie did pinch-hit in the seventh inning on Thursday for designated hitter John Jaso, lining out in his only at-bat.

Lowrie can easily swing a bat, but his problem lies in the field, where he still has discomfort in his index finger that affects his throwing accuracy.

"I think he could've played [Thursday], but at shortstop, if you get any number of throws that you have to make off-balance, he's still feeling it a little bit," Melvin said.

"If it's any other finger, it's not an issue," Lowrie said. "But because that's the finger that leaves the ball last, it's hard to control the ball throwing when you don't have good feel for the finger."

Eric Sogard, who has started at shortstop in Lowrie's place, hit his first homer of the season on Wednesday against Tampa before going 2-for-4 on Thursday vs. Minnesota.

Twins: Minnesota still seeking starter for Saturday
The Twins have yet to make an announcement about Saturday's starter against the A's, but they're expected to call up a pitcher from Triple-A Rochester after Friday's game.

The Twins have an opening in their rotation after left-hander Logan Darnell was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for outfielder Jordan Schafer on Sunday. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wouldn't offer any hints on who will replace Darnell.

"He's somewhere," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll let you know."

Lefty Tommy Milone, who was acquired from the A's in the trade that sent Sam Fuld to Oakland on July 31, last started with Rochester on Tuesday, so he's not expected to be called up to pitch on short rest.

Worth noting
• With the A's win on Thursday, Bob Melvin became the eighth active manager and 76th in MLB history to record 800 wins.

• The Twins have lost 10 in a row to Oakland after Thursday's loss.

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