Athletics 10, Angels 1

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Oakland Athletics are almost invincible when Tim Hudson gets at least four runs of support—or when Scott Hatteberg hits a home run.

Hudson pitched a four-hitter and Hatteberg went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers in a 10-1 rout of the Anaheim Angels on Sunday.

Oakland is 8-0 this season when Hatteberg hits a homer, and 20-2 during his two years with the club. The Athletics are 59-2 when Hudson gets at least four runs of support.

“Hudson is one of the best pitchers in the game, and that’s just another reason. He smells that victory—even six or seven innings away—and he gets after it,” said Adam Kennedy, who ended Hudson’s streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings with a leadoff homer in the ninth.

“You know from the start that Hudson’s not going to be easy. We couldn’t put a rally together—and as each inning goes by, you get a little more down.”

Hudson (9-4) threw 104 pitches en route to his second complete game this season and 12th in 145 career starts. The right-hander struck out six, walked two and allowed only two hits through the final 7 2-3 innings after being staked to a 6-0 lead by the third.

“I know that Mark Mulder and Barry Zito and myself probably pitch our better games when it’s a tight ballgame. But when we get big leads, we don’t really let up, either,” Hudson said.

“But it is comfortable to have a four-run lead or more because it takes a little bit of pressure off you, so you can go out there and really challenge guys. It hasn’t happened too much around here this year, but it’s nice.”

It was the third stellar outing in four starts for Hudson, including a three-hit shutout against Baltimore on July 11 and a 10-0 victory last Tuesday at Kansas City in which he allowed one hit over seven innings.

Hudson’s .709 career winning percentage (73-30) is the third-best in history among pitchers with at least 50 wins—and just one percentage point behind three-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez.

“I feel like I’ve pitched as good as I ever have,” Hudson said. “This time every year is when I start getting things going.”

Miguel Tejada hit a two-run shot and Ramon Hernandez also homered for the A’s, who have won four straight and six of seven after taking a four-game losing streak into the All-Star break.

The Angels, who carried a five-game winning streak into the break, are 2-9 since.

Eight of the first 14 Oakland batters reached base against Ramon Ortiz (12-8), who was roughed up for six runs and six hits over 2 1-3 innings in his shortest outing of the season. He beat the Athletics in his other two starts against them this year.

Hatteberg, the second batter of the game, homered into the lower seats in the right-field corner. Eric Chavez drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and scored from second on a single to left by Mark Ellis that slowed up after deflecting off the glove of third baseman Scott Spiezio.

Hatteberg, who entered 1-for-12 lifetime against Ortiz, triggered a three-run third with his ninth home run. Erubiel Durazo walked, Tejada singled and Chavez drove in both runners with a double off the left-field fence.

Hatteberg, who went hitless in his first six at-bats after getting a two-year contract extension Friday, is 6-for-8 since and has raised his average to .264.

“I’m thrilled about the contract, and maybe subconsciously, I’m more relaxed. But I don’t feel any different,” Hatteberg said. “I’m seeing the ball good and I feel good with my swing. You just get into those grooves and get some confidence. I’m just trying to be more consistent from at-bat to at-bat.”

Tejada, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, made it 8-0 in the eighth with a two-run homer off Ben Weber, his 16th this season and first in 108 at-bats. Tejada’s 26-game drought between homers matched his longest in oneseason.

Notes

It was Hatteberg’s third career multihomer game. The others were May 31, 2002, at Tampa Bay, and May 7, 1997, for Boston against Minnesota. … Ortiz’s outing was not the shortest of his career. That was Sept. 3, 2000, at Chicago, when he gave up nine runs in just two-thirds of an inning. … Hudson’s record could be much better had Keith Foulke not blown leads for him in four starts—including July 6, when Spiezio hit a tying, two-run homer off Foulke in the ninth at Oakland. … Oakland INF Frank Menechino, who was in New York to attend his grandfather’s funeral, was removed from the bereavement listand INF Esteban German was returned to Triple-A Sacramento.

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