YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Melhuse Slams A's Past Reeling Pirates

His blast and four hits by Kotsay lift Oakland, 13-3, giving the team its eighth consecutive win.

June 14, 2004|From Associated Press

OAKLAND — Adam Melhuse was the latest member of the surging Oakland Athletics to have a big game.

Melhuse contributed a grand slam and five runs batted in to Oakland's record-setting output and Mark Kotsay went four for four to lead the Athletics to a 13-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

"Earlier in the year, runs were hard to come by and we were relying on our pitching," Melhuse said. "Now it seems like we're all clicking. When guys are getting all those hits you want one yourself. It makes you focus in a little more."

The A's have scored a major league-leading 95 runs in June, including 79 in the last seven games. They set an Oakland record with 104 hits in that span.

"This is one hot ballclub," Pirate Manager Lloyd McClendon said. "They beat us up pretty good. We scored a lot of runs but we're not getting anywhere."

Scott Hatteberg homered and drove in three runs, extending his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. Oakland has won eight in a row, its longest winning streak since Aug. 23-Sept. 2, 2003, and 11 of its last 12 to surge into the American League West lead.

Oakland has won 10 of 11 games without star third baseman Eric Chavez, out because of a broken bone in his right hand.

"It's amazing and it's been a team effort," Hatteberg said. "We can't wait to get him back. It just seems like we've all found a good groove."

Eric Byrnes hit his third homer in two days and drove in three runs, and the A's maintained the best record (81-47) in interleague play, including an 18-0 mark against the National League Central.

"Chavey is still the biggest part of this team," said Mark Mulder (8-2), who won his sixth consecutive decision. "He's our No. 3 hitter and our best defensive player. This is huge to be doing this without him. Everybody has taken it upon themselves to step it up a bit with Chavez hurt. It seems like it's someone different every day."

Jermaine Dye and Erubiel Durazo each had three hits for Oakland.

Oakland, which had 18 hits, has scored 10 runs or more in five of its last six games, and has 14 homers in that span. The Athletics won 11 games on a homestand for the first time since 1959 -- when they were based in Kansas City.

Craig Wilson and Daryle Ward homered for the Pirates, who have lost 13 of 14, dropping eight in a row for the first time since losing nine consecutive games Sept. 9-17, 2000.

"We're on such a bad streak we just need to get away from here," outfielder Rob Mackowiak said. "We haven't done anything well on this road trip."

Los Angeles Times Articles