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REPORT

Oakland Pitchers Own Late Innings

October 03, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Why do the Oakland Athletics have a 2-0 series lead on the Boston Red Sox even though the A's are batting .194, have fewer hits than the Red Sox and no home runs?

"Because it's all about pitching," A's catcher Ramon Hernandez said.

The A's have scored just enough runs to get away with two victories -- giving up no runs in the last five innings in Game 1 and no runs in the last six innings in Thursday's 5-1 victory at Network Associates Coliseum.

Red Sox Manager Grady Little said Wednesday night's 12-inning marathon didn't cause a lasting hangover for Thursday's Game 2 against the A's Barry Zito.

"No, I saw a left-hander right there on the mound. That created a hangover pretty much," Little said.

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When the A's and the Red Sox turned up Thursday morning for Game 2, only hours after completing their 4-hour 37-minute marathon in the first game, it didn't take long to start the second-guessing.

The bulk of it centered on Little and his pitching decisions in Oakland's 5-4 victory.

For instance: Why did Little pull Byung-Hyun Kim with two outs in the bottom of the ninth?

Kim had just struck out Mark Ellis for the second out and even though he had walked Billy McMillon and hit Chris Singleton with a pitch, no one had a base hit off Kim.

But Little wanted a lefty-lefty matchup against Erubiel Durazo, so he brought in Alan Embree, who had a 5.12 earned-run average after the All-Star break, and Durazo singled in the tying run.

Kim wasn't pleased, but Little didn't care.

"We don't like to see guys happy if they don't get good results out there," he said.

And why did Little use Game 3 starter Derek Lowe at the end?

Little said Lowe hadn't pitched since Sept. 25, he was ready and he'll still pitch Game 3.

"We scheduled him to be able to pitch an inning or two last night," he said. "This is a tuneup for him to go on Saturday. He's feeling good."

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Unhappy anniversary: Because the game ended at 2:45 a.m. Thursday in Boston, the end of the game officially coincided with the 25th anniversary of New York Yankee Bucky Dent's home run in 1978 that knocked the Red Sox out of the playoffs.

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HOW THEY SCORED

SECOND INNING: Athletics 5, Red Sox 0 -- With one out, Guillen walked. Guillen took second on a passed ball. Hernandez singled to right, Guillen scoring. Dye was hit by a pitch. Byrnes doubled to left, Hernandez and Dye scorings. Ellis walked. Durazo grounded to first, Byrnes taking third and Ellis second. Chavez reached second on Walker's throwing error, Byrnes and Ellis scoring. Tejada flied to center. Five runs (two unearned), two hits, one error, one left.

THIRD INNING: Athletics 5, Red Sox 1 -- With one out, Mirabelli doubled to left. Damon doubled to center, Mirabelli scoring. Garciaparra walked. Walker grounded to first, Damon taking third and Garciaparra second. Ramirez flied to left. One run, two hits, two left.

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