Athletics 4, Braves 3

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jermaine Dye needed any kind of hit to get going again. A game-winning hit was even better.

Dye homered in the 12th inning Tuesday night to lead the Oakland Athletics over the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in the first game between the teams since the 1914 World Series.

A season-long slump had left him with a .160 average coming in

“I’ve never been in a slump like this before,” said Dye, who also had an RBI single. “I still feel the same, and I have to keep going out there with a positive mind. It’s a good start for me and hopefully this helps get me going again.”

Dye connected off Jung Keun Bong (5-1) to improve Oakland’s record in extra-inning games to 4-2.

“I think he’s carried the weight of this whole thing on his shoulders a little bit,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “In batting practice he hits rockets every where. It was a matter of time.”

Chad Bradford (5-3) pitched two scoreless innings, helping stop Atlanta’s five-game winning streak.

“When you get two good teams together, this is supposed to happen,” said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, who also praised several defensive plays made by both clubs. “This is as good a game as you’re going to get.”

When the teams last played, they were the Boston Braves and the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Braves won the World Series in a sweep.

Robert Fick had tied Tuesday’s game in the ninth inning with his sixth homer, a solo shot off Keith Foulke, who blew a save for the third time in 18 chances.

“That was nowhere near a strike,” Foulke said. “It takes a lot to get on top of a neck-high fastball and keep it fair down the line. You don’t see that happen often.”

Bong said he tried to sneak a changeup past Dye.

“He missed a changeup, so I thought I would try it again,” Bong said. “He’s such a tall hitter that I thought he would hit it into the ground. The ball just flattened out, and he crushed it.”

Eric Chavez homered for the A’s, who won for the second time in their last five games.

Oakland’s Tim Hudson allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings. He is 4-2 in 14 starts.

Greg Maddux gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

“You had a couple guys with big hearts on the mound,” Macha said. “With Jermaine getting the big hit and making a big play in the field, no one is happier for him than I am. He’s continued to be positive.”

Hudson, 28, grew up a Braves’ fan in Alabama, about 90 minutes from Atlanta. He said he once patterned himself after Maddux.

“It was exciting for me to pitch against that club,” Hudson said. “You couldn’t ask for a better game.

It was such an important night for Hudson that he had his parents, Ronnie and Sue, travel to the game and tried to get them seats as close to the field as possible.

Chavez hit his 12th homer in the second to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Scott Hatteberg doubled home Eric Byrnes in the third, and Dye stopped an 0-for-16 slide with his RBI single in the fourth.

“I think I could have made a couple of better pitches,” Maddux said.

Atlanta scored twice in the sixth, closing to 3-2. Gary Sheffield’s groundout drove in one run, and Chipper Jones singled home another.

Atlanta left the bases loaded in the first but Fick, a career .214 hitterwith the bases loaded, grounded sharply back to Hudson.

Notes

A’s C Ramon Hernandez snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a fourth-inning single. … Fick, who extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games, is batting .097 against left-handed pitchers. … Giles hit a career-high three doubles. … A’s minor league LHP Bill Murphy pitched a no-hitter for Kane County in a 6-0 win over West Michigan. … Sheffield went 1-for-5 but still leads the major leagues with a .429 road batting average. … The A’s are 7-1in Hudson’s eight no-decisions.

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