MINNEAPOLIS -- "Godzilla" left his biggest footprint yet in an A's uniform Sunday.
Though the A's had many contributors in a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Hideki Matsui's first homer as an Athletic was the most welcome sight for a team that has sputtered offensively.
Matsui sent a fourth-inning pitch from Scott Baker rocketing off the facing of the second deck in right-center. The solo shot broke a scoreless tie and ushered in a hitting onslaught -- at least by recent A's standards.
Oakland broke out for four runs in the sixth, including Josh Willingham's third homer, to provide a 5-0 cushion. That was enough to withstand a late Twins' rally, and the A's took two of three over the weekend to claim their first series victory of 2011.
Matsui entered the day hitting just .160, and nobody epitomized the A's offensive struggles more than their designated hitter. He struck out with the bases loaded in Saturday's victory and generally has looked out of sync going back to the start of spring training.
"You knew it was going to come," A's manager Bob Geren said. "That ball jumped out in a hurry. That got everyone on the bench excited."
The A's had combined for just four runs over their previous three games. Sunday, they added the hitting to complement another fine pitching effort.
Brandon McCarthy (1-0) allowed two runs over 71/3 innings for his first major league victory since Sept. 8, 2009. Both runs
Over the last four games, A's starting pitchers have allowed five earned runs and two walks over 291/3 innings.
Matsui, who went 2 for 4 and scored twice, expressed relief at getting his first homer. But he was even happier about his team breaking out the bats.
"I think what was good was that the offense came through," Matsui said through a translator. "The starting pitching was pitching pretty well and wasn't getting that support."
McCarthy is one pitcher who hasn't been shortchanged in the runs department. In his first start, the A's scored six times on 13 hits against Toronto.
"So far I've been the big beneficiary," McCarthy said, before smiling and adding, "They must like me more than the other guys."
Matsui put several balls in the seats during batting practice Sunday morning, and Geren said Matsui has looked good in batting practice.
Whether he can carry it over into games consistently is big for the A's, who signed Matsui to a one-year, $4.25 million deal in December.
Willingham, who bats cleanup ahead of Matsui, is another key hitter.
His sixth-inning solo shot off Baker traveled an estimated 427 feet, landing deep in the walkway beyond the first deck of the left field bleachers.
"It's really nice to see the middle of the lineup swinging the bats well," second baseman Mark Ellis said.
Willingham's first season in the American League has been interesting so far. He's hitting .242 and entered Sunday tied for the AL lead with 13 strikeouts. But he also has three of the A's four homers to go with a team-high six RBIs.
Willingham's homer gave the A's a 2-0 lead. Landon Powell also doubled in a run and Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington added sacrifice flies.
When Matsui followed Willingham's homer with a single, it snapped a string of 36 innings that the A's had gone without recording hits in consecutive at-bats.