Cleveland (70-72) at Oakland (82-59)

Light Rain Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 12, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Looking for a fifth straight playoff berth, the Oakland Athletics are doing all they can to hold on to their AL West lead.

After snapping a five-game losing streak, the A’s will look for another win when they close their weekend series with the visiting Cleveland Indians.

Rookies Bobby Crosby and Nick Swisher hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning Saturday to help the A’s rally from a four-run deficit for a 5-4 victory.

“We know we can’t play like this is our first year,” Crosby said. “If you’re in the lineup, you’ve got to contribute, and it felt great to do that today.”

With the win, the A’s increased their lead over Anaheim to two games in the AL West. Oakland has been alone in first place since Aug. 5, its longest stretch since 1992.

The A’s trailed 4-0 after the Indians’ Travis Hafner belted a three-run homer in the seventh.

“To say we needed that one would be an understatement,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “Being down and battling back like we did will hopefully be a big boost for us.”

The five-game skid was Oakland’s longest following the All-Star break since 2000.

Swisher, who homered in his second major league game last week, reached base four times.

“I was lucky to get a pitch to hit,” Swisher said of his go-ahead solo homer. “It’s been awesome just to get an opportunity to play as much as I have. I’m still nervous all the time, but it’s been great.”

The Indians, who fell to 3-1 on their five-game road trip, hope Jake Westbrook can close the trip with another strong start.

The 26-year-old right-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his previous three starts. He surrendered two runs and six hits over eight innings last Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Anaheim.

“That’s just how this game goes,” Westbrook said. “Everything evens out. You get 22 (runs) one game and only one the next. That’s evening out, I reckon.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Westbrook StL vs. B. Zito SF
14-9 Record 11-11
3.38 ERA 4.48
116 K 163
61 BB 81
1.25 WHIP 1.39