OAKLAND -- It's one thing to leave only a few runners on base with the offense doing its job to bring home baserunners. And it's another thing not to leave any runners on base at all because of a lack of offense.
But it's exactly what happened to the Twins on Tuesday night against the A's, as they didn't leave anybody on base, but were handed a 4-1 loss at The Coliseum despite a bounce-back effort from rookie Cole De Vries.
Minnesota didn't leave a runner on base for just the eighth time in franchise history, and the Twins have lost seven of those games, including the last time it occurred when David Wells threw a perfect game against them on May 17, 1998.
It came as a result of a strong effort from left-hander Brett Anderson and a rare triple play turned by the A's in the fifth inning on a grounder hit to third by Trevor Plouffe.
"It was unfortunate to hit into a triple play, but that's the breaks," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It goes that way. But really we didn't have many chances to score runs and that was because of their pitching."
Anderson, making his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in July of last year, held the Twins to just one run over seven strong innings. The lefty also struck out six and didn't walk a batter.
"Anderson was pretty good," Gardenhire said. "That was one of the best performances we've seen in a while. He had a good breaking ball and a good changeup. His fastball he was taking off and adding to it, so he pretty much kept us off-balance all night."
He outpitched De Vries, who had allowed 11 runs over his last 5 1/3 innings in his last two starts, but fared better against Oakland. The right-hander gave up two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out three and walked three, but fell to 2-5 with a 4.89 ERA in 14 big league appearances.
"I think overall it was a pretty good outing," De Vries said. "I was a little disappointed with myself in the first couple innings because I was trying to be too fine. That allowed me to get into too many deep counts and throw too many pitches. I should've gone way deeper into the game tonight, but it's one of those things where I should've made an adjustment and I did."
He gave up a run in the second inning on an RBI double from Josh Donaldson before serving up a go-ahead RBI single to Derek Norris with two outs in the sixth. The run-scoring single knocked De Vries out of the game in favor of reliever Anthony Swarzak.
Swarzak was able to get out of the inning, but struggled in the seventh and gave up two runs. Josh Reddick brought home the first run with an RBI single before scoring on a double from Chris Carter.
It was enough for Anderson with the Twins scoring their one run in the first inning on a wild pitch from Anderson after Ben Revere singled, stole second and reached third on a groundout from Joe Mauer.
Anderson was helped by the rare triple play to end the fifth inning. Plouffe came up with runners on first and second with nobody out, but hit a grounder to Donaldson at third base and he was able to touch the bag before completing a 5-4-3 triple play. It was just the eighth time a Twins hitter has ever hit into a triple play.
"That was extremely exciting," Anderson said. "In that situation, you're trying to get a ground ball, maybe a double play. I didn't know how close it was going to be at first and fortunately we were able to get him out. It was a pretty special moment. I've never seen a triple play in person, let alone be on the mound for it, so it's pretty awesome and it kind of propelled me for the last two innings."