Saturday, August 24, 2002

Athletics 9, Tigers 1

The Associated Press

        DETROIT — Barry Zito has a carefully planned pregame routine, and nothing messes it up more than a rain delay. Friday night, though, it didn't seem to bother him. Zito waited out a delay of 2:26, then pitched seven shutout innings as the Oakland Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 9-1 for their 10th straight win.

        “It is tough, but as long as I can get 30 minutes, I'll be OK,” he said. “I usually take 50, but you can't ask for that on a night where it is raining.”

        The Athletics moved into sole possession of first place in the AL West, breaking a tie with Seattle.

        “That feels good,” said manager Art Howe. “These guys have worked really hard to get here.”

        Starting pitchers have won all 10 games for Oakland during its streak. The last team to win 10 straight games, all by starting pitchers, was Baltimore from Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 1974.

        “I'm barely old enough to remember that,” said Howe with a smile. “But that shows you how impressive this has been — and I don't see any reason that it wouldn't continue.”

        Zito (18-5) allowed four hits and two walks, striking out five, and moved into the American League lead in wins.

        “That's great, I guess,” Zito said. “But mainly, that just means I'm getting run support. It won't help me win my next start.”

        John Mabry homered twice for the second time in his career — both against Detroit. The first came on April 28, 1999, with Seattle. Mabry had only started one of Oakland's previous 11 games.

        “There is nothing tougher in baseball than sitting out for several days and trying to keep your timing,” Mabry said. “Not just 90-plus fastballs, but sliders and curves and changes. It just feels good to help this team win.”

        Ray Durham matched a career-high with four hits and scored three times. He also had four hits against Detroit as a member of the White Sox on July 11.

        Shane Halter had three of the Tigers' seven hits.

        Brian Powell (1-3) fell to 0-3 in his last five starts, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1-3 innings.

        “He looked OK for the first three innings, but he was never sharp,” Tigers manager Luis Pujols said. “He really started to struggle once he got to the fourth.”

        Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but Zito struck out former teammate Carlos Pena to end the inning.

        “It is very tough to stay focused for over two hours like that. Once I got past that, I was fine,” Zito said.

        Oakland stranded runners in the first three innings before breaking through in the fourth. Eric Chavez led off with a double and scored on Mabry's seventh homer of the season.

        The Athletics made it 3-0 in the fifth when Durham tripled with one out and scored on Scott Hatteberg's line single to right.

        Durham led off the sixth with a single and scored on Miguel Tejada's one-out double, making it 4-0. After a walk to Chavez, Mabry homered to right-center, increasing the margin to seven.

        “John deserved a day like this,” Howe said. “He plays hard whenever and wherever we ask him, and he never complains about sitting on the bench. I really enjoyed seeing him have a great night.”

        Tejada added a two-run single in the eighth.

        Detroit's Brandon Inge hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth off Jeff Tam.
        Notes: The game started at 9:31 p.m. and ended at 12:20 a.m. ... The last time the A's were alone in first place was April 9. ... Saturday will be the first time that the Tigers and Detroit Lions will play on the same day in their adjoining stadiums. The Lions will open Ford Field with a 12:30 p.m. game against Pittsburgh, with the A's and Tigers playing at 7:05. ... Oakland is 10-2 against Detroit in the past two seasons. ... Tigers 2B Damion Easley was a late scratch from the lineup after flying to Arizona to be with his sick child, and was replaced by Damian Jackson. He is expected back Sunday or Monday ... Willie McCovey did the daily video tribute to retiring Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell. ... The A's had an 11-game winning streak last season.


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