MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Eric Milton got into a groove. Butch Huskey got lucky.
That combination, along with Jacques Jones' three RBIs, was enough to lift the Minnesota Twins to a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
It didn't start out like it was going to be Milton's night. He trailed 2-0 in the third inning and was in trouble in the third with runners on second and third and no out.
But Milton struck out John Jaha and Matt Stairs on strikes, then retired Olmedo Saenz on a liner to center field.
Milton (6-1) allowed both runs and seven hits in seven innings, showing no ill effects from the bruised leg that caused him to leave his June 6 start at Houston after two innings. He struck out a season-high 11.
''He was out of whack early,'' Minnesota manager Tom Kelly said. ''But then he settled down and got rolling. We made some plays in the field and Eric pitched well.''
Milton won his fourth consecutive decision, allowing only a two-run homer to Ben Grieve in the second inning. The strikeouts were two short of his career high, set last Sept. 11, when he no-hit the Anaheim Angels. Minnesota pitchers struck out a season-high 16 in all.
''I got in a groove but it took a while,'' Milton said. ''When you make a mistake like I did to Grieve, you tend to concentrate more. After the third, I got into a good groove.''
Now for the luck factor. The game was tied 2-all in the fourth when David Ortiz singled and Huskey launched a ball to left that tipped off Grieve's glove and over the fence. The Twins scored three more runs in the inning, two on Jones' triple.
''Maybe things are about to change for me,'' Huskey said. ''He almost caught that ball and probably should have.''
It was just the fourth home run of the season for Huskey, who is hitting .227. He entered the season with a .282 career average.
For Oakland manager Art Howe, the previous inning decided the game.
''We had him on the ropes and we let him off,'' Howe said of Milton. ''Not only didn't we score more runs in that inning but they tied the game up.''
Jones had a run-scoring groundout in the third, and another run scored in the inning on a throwing error by shortstop Miguel Tejada.
Gil Heredia (8-4) allowed five runs and four hits in four innings. His ERA, which had been second in the league behind Boston's Pedro Martinez (0.95), rose from 3.13 to 3.64.
Oakland lost for just the third time in 12 games and dropped into second place in the AL West, a half-game behind Seattle.
Grieve, in a 4-for-29 slump, hit his eighth home run of the season but came away impressed with Milton's effort.
''I've seen his numbers and they look good to me,'' he said. ''He spots his fastball well and he has good control.''
Notes: Heredia dropped to 6-1 on the road this year. He is 1-2 against the Twins this season. ... Jones' triple was the Twins' 22nd of the season, tops in the AL. ... The Twins' 16 strikeouts were one short of the club record, set May 6, 1966 against Boston in a nine-inning game and duplicated in a 13-inning game against Texas on June 6, 1987.
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