Cleveland (69-71) at Oakland (81-58)

Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA, US
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 10, 2004
  • TV: FSOH, KICU
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cy Young Award may be slipping away from Mark Mulder. The Oakland Athletics don’t want to see their lead in the AL West follow suit.

Mulder looks to tie for the major league lead in wins and help the Athletics end a four-game losing streak in the opener of a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

Although Mulder is second in the AL with 17 wins, he has struggled since the All-Star break. The left-hander had a 5.11 ERA in July and a 5.14 mark in August, but managed to go 7-2 during that span mainly because his teammates supported him with 6.9 runs per game.

In his first start this month, Mulder allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings Saturday in Oakland’s 9-5 victory at Toronto.

“Everything went wrong at the beginning of the game and everything went right at the end,” said Mulder, one win behind Boston’s Curt Schilling for the AL lead.

Although they’ve lost five of six to Cleveland this season, the A’s should be happy to see the red-hot Red Sox leave town.

Boston pounded Tim Hudson for seven runs and six hits in three innings and completed a three-game sweep with an 8-3 victory Wednesday.

The loss was the fourth straight for Oakland, which is trying to hold off Anaheim for the AL West lead. The A’s, outscored 36-12 during the losing streak, haven’t lost five straight since dropping a season-high six in a row from April 23-29.

“Those guys are on fire, but they’re gone now,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “Now we have to concentrate on the next team coming in here. It’s all still in our hands. It’s all in front of us.”

Oakland has lost five of six against Cleveland this season, but all of those games were at Jacobs Field.

“These guys have given us some problems at their place this year, so maybe we can return the favor,” Macha said.

While the Indians have no playoff aspirations, they already have one more win than they did all of last season, when they finished 68-94.

“Obviously, it’s significant,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “Now, we have to keep plowing and grinding and try to win as many as we can.”

Ron Belliard hit a three-run homer and Ben Broussard had a two-run single to lead the Indians to a 9-5 victory at Seattle on Wednesday, completing a two-game sweep.

The Indians lost five of six at Oakland last season.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Elarton MIN vs. M. Mulder LAA
3-11 Record 17-8
5.90 ERA 4.43
103 K 140
62 BB 83
1.42 WHIP 1.36