Athletics 6, Tigers 5, 11 innings

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Just when it seemed all was wrong with the reigning AL MVP, Miguel Tejada changed things with one swing of the bat.

Tejada homered leading off the bottom of the 11th inning and the Oakland Athletics sent the hapless Detroit Tigers to their 17th loss in 18 games this season, 6-5 Tuesday night.

Detroit’s dismal start is the worst in baseball since Baltimore began 0-21 in 1988.

Tejada was 0-for-5 before sending a 3-1 pitch from Wilfredo Ledezma (0-1) far beyond the left-field fence.

“I had a nightmare with me,” Tejada said. “I know I’m struggling, but I wanted one more time. I needed to help my team. That’s why we play nine innings.”

Well, in this case 11.

Tejada had stranded 10 runners and committed an error that led to an unearned run that tied the game in the ninth. A’s manager Ken Macha was considering giving the star shortstop a day off to regroup.

“We had some big hits. Hopefully, none of the hits were bigger than the one we got at the end,” Macha said. “Hopefully, it’s the one that gives Miggy the confidence and gets him going.”

Tim Hudson took a shutout into the eighth inning, but Keith Foulke couldn’t hold a two-run lead in the ninth.

Ricardo Rincon (1-1) pitched two innings for the win.

Dimitri Young hit a three-run homer in the eighth off Hudson and Omar Infante had three hits for the Tigers, who fell to 1-17—the worst start in franchise history.

Hudson, the lone right-hander in Oakland’s rotation, did not allow a hit to the outfield until Young’s shot to left. The ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back into the outfield but was ruled a home run. On the top step of the dugout, Hudson slapped over a bucket of sunflower seeds in frustration when he gave way to Chad Bradford.

“I thought it definitely wasn’t a homer,” Hudson said. “I thought it hit the top of the wall and came back in. What’s done is done. … He hit it and went around the bases like it went 500 feet. Maybe next time he should open his eyes up and see how far it went.”

Tejada is frustrated with his struggles at the plate and it shows. After flying out to right in the fifth, which followed two swinging strikeouts, he swung a bat against the dugout wall, broke it and then kicked it.

Tejada, whose fielding also has been subpar, is hitting .174 (15-for-86). He struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Jamie Walker walked Scott Hatteberg to load the bases with none out in the seventh, then Matthew Roney entered to face Tejada, who hit into a 6-2-3 double play.

Tejada has insisted his unsettled contract situation will not be a distraction this season, but he is playing nothing like he did in 2002, when he beat out Texas’ Alex Rodriguez for the MVP Award. Tejada made two errors in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers and then another big one Tuesday.

Tejada is eligible to become a free agent after the season, and the A’s have told him they can’t afford to give him the long-term contract he wants. He has not said how much money he will ask for. He made $3.65 million last season and will get $5 million this year.

Tejada hit .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBIs last season to help the A’s win 103 games.

Hudson struck out six and walked four in 7 2-3 innings before Bradford relieved. Foulke blew a save for the first time in five chances, allowing RBI singles to pinch-hitter Shane Halter and Eugene Kingsale.

Detroit starter Adam Bernero gave up four runs on 10 hits in six-plus innings, striking out four and walking one.

“It sounds like a broken record, but right now I feel disappointed,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “We came back in the ninth and were saying it’s not over. It’s a cruel game, but you have to find a way to dig a little deeper, all those clich Des.”

Mark Ellis and Ramon Hernandez each doubled and had three hits for the A’s. Chris Singleton added two hits and scored twice. Ellis drove in two runs.

It was Oakland’s first game against an opponent outside the tough AL West. The defending division champion A’s played their first 19 games against theWest.


The A’s Frank Menechino, playing in place of regular 3B Eric Chavez, singled to right in the seventh for his first hit of the season. … The Tigerslost their 10th straight road game.

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