Athletics 16, Indians 7

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Mark Mulder needed a lot of assistance to keep his streak alive.

Pinch-hitter Erubiel Durazo hit a grand slam to help Mulder win his 10th straight decision, and the Oakland Athletics defeated the Cleveland Indians 16-7 Saturday night.

“It was big to get those runs,” said Mulder, who was sharp early, then faltered and gave up six runs over 6 2-3 innings.

But Mulder (12-2) still managed to tie San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt for the longest winning streak in the majors in 2004.

The left-hander has not lost in 13 starts since a 5-1 setback April 28 in New York. He tied teammate Barry Zito and three former Athletics for the second-longest streak in Oakland history. Hall of Famer Jim (Catfish) Hunter won 13 in a row in 1973.

Mulder would be honored if named the American League’s starter Tuesday night in the All-Star game in Houston.

“It would be nice, but I don’t know if anybody in their right mind would want to pitch two innings against that (NL) lineup,” he said.

Travis Hafner had four hits, including his 10th homer, and four RBIs for Cleveland.

Durazo capped a seven-run sixth inning with his 11th homer—the seventh of his career as a pinch-hitter and third career grand slam—as Oakland snapped a four-game losing streak.

The A’s had been 0-4 against Cleveland this season, losing each time in the final at-bat at Jacobs Field.

“We wanted to score as many as we could,” said Mark Kotsay, who had four of Oakland’s 19 hits. “We haven’t had as much success here as we would have liked. It felt good to have a cushion.”

Kotsay singled in a run off Rick White (3-4) to bring the A’s to 5-4. After Eric Byrnes struck out, Eric Chavez was intentionally walked to load the bases and Matt Miller replaced White.

Jermaine Dye then lined a 1-1 pitch to right center for a two-run single, giving Oakland a 6-5 lead.

Scott Hatteberg walked to reload the bases and Durazo, batting for Bobby Kielty, hit an 0-1 pitch from left-hander Cliff Bartosh into the right-field seats.

“I’ve pinch-hit a lot against lefties,” Durazo said. “I was ready.”

Mulder needed just 37 pitches over the first three innings, striking out five, in a matchup against fellow All-Star left-hander C.C. Sabathia.

That came to an abrupt halt in the fourth as Cleveland’s first five batters reached safely and scored. Mulder made 39 pitches in the inning.

“That was some of the best stuff I had all year,” said Mulder, who allowed nine hits and three walks, striking out a season-high nine.

“I felt great in the first three innings,” he added. “Then I threw too much over the plate and they hit the ball hard.”

Hafner’s three-run double keyed Cleveland’s five-run fourth.

Lou Merloni drove in a run with a bases-loaded single. Then Hafner lined a double over the head of Kotsay in center for a 4-3 lead.

Hafner moved up on Mulder’s second wild pitch of the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tim Laker.

“Mulder’s a great pitcher,” Merloni said. “He lost a little of his command that one inning. Other than that, he pretty much controlled things.”

Sabathia gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. He walked four and struck out five in his second start since missing a turn because of a sore biceps.

“Overall, I was pleased with the way I threw, but not the results,” Sabathia said. “I cut loose pretty good and started to regain command of my breaking ball as the game went on.”

Marco Scutaro gave the A’s the early lead in the second with a two-out single.

Kielty made it 3-0 in the third with a two-out, two-run double to right.

Coco Crisp singled home a run in the Indians’ sixth to make it 10-6.

Kotsay’s two-run double in the eighth off Jeriome Robertson put Oakland ahead by six. Hafner homered to make it 12-7 in the bottom half.

In the ninth, Durazo added an RBI single and Adam Melhuse hit a three-runhomer.


Mulder’s 67 wins and 21 complete games since 2001 lead the majors. He is 7-2 in his career against Cleveland. … Bob Welch (1990), Storm Davis (1988) and Vida Blue (1971) also won 10 straight for Oakland. … Kotsay went 4-for-6 and is hitting .600 (15-for-25) in his career against Cleveland. … Indians SS Omar Vizquel extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a fourth-inning single. … Indians manager Eric Wedge said RHP Rafael Betancourt, sidelined since June 26 with a sore biceps, likely would beactivated Sunday.

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