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A Giant Step Is Taken By Athletics

June 23, 2003|From Associated Press

OAKLAND — The second-biggest crowd in Coliseum history couldn't decide which team to support, sometimes chant- ing "Let's go, Oakland!" and "Let's go, Giants!" at the same time.

Miguel Tejada isn't nearly as confused. He thinks the surging Athletics are a step ahead of their opponents these days, particularly after winning the first half of the Bay Bridge Series.

Tejada hit a three-run homer, and four relievers combined on four innings of hitless relief as the A's took two of three from San Francisco, winning 6-5 on Sunday.

Erubiel Durazo hit a solo homer for the go-ahead run, and Eric Chavez had a two-run double as Oakland rallied from a three-run deficit to finish a 12-game homestand with nine victories. With two weekend wins in front of huge home crowds, the notoriously streaky A's got on another roll at the expense of their cross-Bay rivals.

"It was a great homestand, because we have our confidence back now," said Tejada, the reigning American League most valuable player. "We think we're ready to play against every team. You could see by the way we rallied today. Right now, we can take two of three from anybody."

Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer -- his third homer in two games -- for the Giants, who begin a key three-game series against the Dodgers tonight.

Designated hitter Barry Bonds had an RBI single, was walked intentionally with the bases empty in the seventh and ninth innings and got the 499th stolen base of his career, but the Giants couldn't capitalize on six innings of outstanding work from their own bullpen.

In front of 55,413 sun-baked fans who crowded every level of the Coliseum, the A's won for the eighth time in nine games.

Giant rookie pitcher Jesse Foppert gave up five runs, four hits and three walks in two-plus innings -- the shortest start of his career. Ted Lilly (5-5) got the win for Oakland -- but he was even worse, giving up nine hits, five runs and several line-drive outs in five shaky innings.

After Lilly left before the sixth, John Halama, Chad Bradford and Jim Mecir kept the A's on top. Keith Foulke finished for his 19th save in 22 chances, with Chris Singleton making a running catch on Andres Galarraga's long foul ball deep in the right-field corner to end it.

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