Series: Game 1 of 3

Oakland leads 1-0 (as of 4/4)

Game 1: Friday, April 4
Game 2: Saturday, April 5
Game 3: Sunday, April 6

Angels 3

(2-2, 0-1 away)

Athletics 7

(3-1, 3-1 home)

    10:05 PM ET, April 4, 2003 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    ANA 000100020 3 4 0
    OAK 30112000 - 7 10 0

    W: T. Lilly (1-0)

    L: K. Appier (0-1)

    S: C. Bradford (1)

    Lilly, Durazo lead the way as A's dust Angels

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ted Lilly spent much of his two-week honeymoon in Africa this offseason finding fields where he could practice his pitching -- and he nearly broke his wife's thumb one day while she was catching him.

    Ted Lilly

    ''We were lucky she didn't have to go to the doctor,'' Lilly said.

    All the extra work has made a difference, even if his wife, Tasha, wasn't all for it at the time. Lilly had a spectacular spring training and pitched 7 1/3 strong innings in his first start of the season as the Oakland Athletics beat the Anaheim Angels 7-3 Friday night.

    Erubiel Durazo homered and drove in four runs as the defending American League West champions beat the World Series winners in a matchup of division favorites.

    Durazo has 10 RBI in his first four games, exhibiting everything general manager Billy Beane liked about him when the A's acquired the slugger from Arizona in a four-team trade in December.

    ''It's early in the season,'' Durazo said. ''I've got to keep focused on the rest of the season. A season is so up and down.''

    Tim Salmon homered and Garret Anderson had a two-run double among his three hits for the Angels, who did not get a hit from their bottom five batters in the order.

    ''We didn't pressure Lilly the way we needed to,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Ted pitched a heck of a game against us. I know he's battled some arm trouble the last couple of years, but it looked like his fastball was crisp and he changed speeds well.''

    Lilly (1-0), one of four lefties in the rotation, escaped a jam in the first with runners on second and third and didn't have to work deep into the count against many batters.

    After allowing a double to Anderson in the first, Lilly retired seven in a row before Salmon's leadoff homer in the fourth, his first of the season.

    It sailed about 415 feet, well above the outstretched glove of center fielder Chris Singleton, and Anderson followed with a single.

    Lilly then got 12 consecutive outs before walking pinch-hitter Eric Owens in the eighth. Jeremy Fikac relieved Lilly, who walked into the dugout to a standing ovation from the crowd of 18,138 -- a big difference from when he was booed the last time he left the mound.

    ''My last time out there was the postseason, a big game and I didn't do well,'' he said. ''I was upset along with the fans. I feel like I needed to do that. I made the necessary changes to get over the hump.''

    It certainly was a solid start for Lilly, who nearly pitched a no-hitter in Seattle last April with the New York Yankees but then switched teams, hurt his shoulder, struggled with a blister on his pitching hand and finished 2002 in frustration.

    Last year, Lilly never found his rhythm with his new team. He spent July 23 to Sept. 10 on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, then returned to make three starts. He came out of the bullpen Sept. 28, a role he kept through the playoffs.

    Lilly made some tweaks to his delivery and mechanics in the offseason -- including eight workouts in Kenya and Tanzania -- that he hopes will carry him to success in 2003. He gave up two runs and three hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

    Chad Bradford got four outs for his first save.

    Durazo, the regular designated hitter playing first base because Scott Hatteberg has a sprained ankle, hit a first-inning single to score Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez, who pulled off a double steal to get to second and third.

    Around the A's, being aggressive on the basepaths is not the norm. The rule is you can run as long as you don't get caught.

    ''We're just playing hard and taking extra bases when we feel we can,'' Chavez said. ''It's fun.''

    Durazo homered to right in the fifth, chasing Anaheim starter Kevin Appier (0-1).

    Appier, who allowed 15 earned runs in 24 innings during spring training, gave up seven runs on eight hits in four innings. He struck out three and walked three.

    ''My command wasn't all that horrible, but my stuff was kind of flat,'' Appier said. ''When you pitch against these guys, that can be extremely dangerous.''

    Tejada had three hits, including a double, and two runs scored. Singleton and Chavez each had two hits.

    Game notes

    Both teams rested their regular catchers, though Bengie Molina came in to catch in the eighth for Anaheim. ... Tejada is hitting .416 (10-for-24) lifetime against Appier. ... Appier went 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA against the A's in 2002.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press