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Mulder Mows Down Minnesota

Baseball: Left-hander strikes out 10 in eight shutout innings to lead the Athletics to a 2-0 victory.

September 08, 2002|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Mark Mulder pitched well enough to get Oakland back on the winning track.

Mulder pitched eight shutout innings Saturday night, outshining Minnesota's Joe Mays and leading the Athletics to a 2-0 victory over the Twins, a night after Oakland's American League-record 20-game winning streak ended.

"The kid really can pitch," Minnesota Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He bears down, and he gets after you."

David Justice and Scott Hatteberg drove in runs for Oakland, which had the majors' longest winning streak in 67 years end with a 6-0 loss to Minnesota on Friday.

But Mulder (17-7) struck out 10, won his fourth consecutive start and silenced the Metrodome crowd of 43,628 to put the A's back in the victory column. Five of the Twins' seven hits against Mulder were infield singles, and he didn't walk anybody. He struck out five of the first six batters.

"Coming off the loss, I'm sure he was a little extra pumped up tonight," said Minnesota's Dustan Mohr, who was 0 for 3. "There's not a whole lot you can do. He had four pitches working."

Billy Koch pitched a perfect ninth for his 38th save in 44 chances to keep the Angels from gaining any ground. Even with the 20 consecutive victories, the A's are only two games ahead of the Angels, who have won nine in a row.

The Twins are much safer in first. Chicago's loss to Cleveland reduced Minnesota's magic number for clinching the AL Central to seven and kept the division lead at 14 games.

Mays (3-6) pitched almost as well as Mulder, but he gave up run-scoring singles to Justice in the second and Hatteberg in the eighth inning. Mays gave up five hits in 7 1/3 innings.

"Classic pitching performance," Gardenhire said. "We had the chances to get some runs, but we just couldn't get that big hit."

Luis Rivas singled and Jacque Jones doubled in the third--the only hard-hit balls Mulder gave up--but Cristian Guzman struck out to end the inning. The Twins loaded the bases on infield hits in the fifth, but Guzman couldn't beat out his chopper to short.

"Just an outstanding performance," Manager Art Howe said of his left-hander. "Overpowering at times. We were able to scratch a couple runs across, and he made it stand up. He was really sharp--you could see that from the outset."

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