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Baseball: Durazo's 3 HR saves Mulder

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posted on Aug, 19 2004 @ 09:21 AM
Durazo hit three homers and drove in all five Oakland runs, and Mulder became the first 16-game winner in the major leagues by pitching the Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

The A's trailed 4-0 before Durazo hit a pair of two-run homers off Sidney Ponson. Durazo then connected off B.J. Ryan (3-3) in the eighth to break the tie and put Mulder in position to win.

"I was just trying to stick around long enough for us to score a bunch of runs. And Ruby did that for us," Mulder said. "He did everything today. He was outstanding."

It was only the second home run by a left-handed batter against Ryan since 2002 and only the seventh hit that Ryan has allowed to a lefty this season.

"I know he is really tough, so I went out there and just tried to make contact," Durazo said. "I just feel real good at the plate and I'm seeing the ball real good."

Durazo singled in his first at-bat and finished 4-for-4, matching his career high for hits. It was the second three-homer game of his career, the first coming in 2002 when he played for Arizona.

The feat tied an Oakland club record set 12 times previously; the last player to do it was Miguel Tejada, who now plays for the Orioles. It also was the first time in the 13-year history of Camden Yards that a player on the visiting team hit three home runs in a game.

Mulder (16-4) allowed four runs and six hits in eight innings, but gave up only one single over his final five innings.

"I didn't think Mark had his best command," said Oakland manager Ken Macha. "That said, after the third inning he pitched real well."

Octavio Dotel worked the ninth for his 12th save.

The first-place A's completed a three-game sweep and climbed 16 games over .500 (68-52) for the second time this season. Oakland has won five straight on the road, its longest streak since a 10-game run in 2002.

Down 4-0, the A's got started in the fourth when Scott Hatteberg drew a leadoff walk and Durazo homered.

The A's wasted Eric Chavez's two-out double in the fifth when Jermaine Dye was called out on strikes, but Oakland used a familiar formula to draw even in the sixth. Hatteberg hit a leadoff single and Durazo drove Ponson's next pitch over the right-field wall for his 17th homer.

Ponson then gave up two infield hits before ending his stint by striking out Mark McLemore on his 104th pitch of the night.

Vying to win his sixth straight decision, Ponson gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings. It was the first time since June 24 that he yielded two homers in a game.

"I didn't have command of any of my pitches," Ponson said. "It's frustrating. Those guys gave me four runs, we should have beat this team. But they found a way to beat us."

The credit goes to Durazo, who, according to Ponson, hit a poorly thrown slider in the fourth and a fastball down the middle in the sixth.

"He did what he should do, hit a home run," Ponson said. "I couldn't keep him in the ballpark, and B.J. threw an awesome pitch. When the guy's locked in, you can't do anything about it."

The Orioles surpassed their run total from the first two games of the series by scoring two in the second.

Tejada hit a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by B.J. Surhoff, who went to second on the throw to the plate. After Darnell McDonald beat out an infield roller that moved Surhoff to third, Jay Gibbons drove in a run with a grounder that bounced high off the plate.

Oakland loaded the bases with two outs in the third before Ponson retired Dye on a grounder.

Baltimore made it 4-0 in the bottom half. After Tejada singled in a run for his major league-high 108th RBI, Melvin Mora crossed the plate before the A's could complete a double play.


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