Series: Game 2 of 3

Oakland leads 2-0 (as of 4/9)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 8
Game 2: Wednesday, April 9
Game 3: Thursday, April 10

Athletics 13

(7-1, 2-0 away)

Rangers 5

(2-6, 1-4 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 9, 2003

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 002420032 13 13 0
    TEX 001021010 5 11 0

    W: M. Mulder (1-0)

    L: I. Valdez (1-1)

    Tejada ends slump with three hits, HR

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Miguel Tejada was never concerned by his slow start. Now the AL MVP is showing everyone he's not distracted by talk about his contract.


    Tejada went 3-for-4 with a homer and made a couple of nice defensive plays in the Oakland Athletics' 13-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

    "I think everybody was worried about me, worried about everything going on and that I had a slow start,'' Tejada said. "I don't worry. I know I'm going to be OK. Now I've had a couple of hits and can tell them I'm OK.''

    The three-hit night raised Tejada's average from .188 to .250 (9-for-36). His second homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth, made it 8-1 and chased Ismael Valdes.

    Tejada can become a free agent after the season, and team president Steve Schott said during the spring that the A's wouldn't offer Tejada a contract.

    The shortstop said last week that he wants a new deal before the end of the season or he would become a free agent. Schott now says there is the possibility of re-signing Tejada, but not to a long-term contract.

    That's not the reason for his slow start, Tejada insists.

    "Everybody knows I'm a slow starter. I'm working hard and feeling better,'' he said. "The good thing is, I haven't been hitting, but we've been winning.''

    Scott Hatteberg also homered and had three hits for the A's, who won their fifth straight game and are 7-1, their best start since 1991.

    Terrence Long and Mark Ellis hit home runs in the third inning to put Mark Mulder (1-0) and the Athletics ahead to stay. It was Oakland's ninth straight victory over Texas.

    Texas has lost three straight and at 2-6 is already five games back in the AL West under new manager Buck Showalter.

    Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro hit his 493rd homer, tying Lou Gehrig for 19th on the career list.

    After Hatteberg's three-run homer in the eighth for an 11-4 lead, rookie reliever Reynaldo Garcia hit Tejada with his next pitch and was immediately ejected by plate umpire C.B. Bucknor.

    Showalter understood the ejection, but said Garcia was just trying to throw an inside slider. Tejada said he knows Garcia and knows it wasn't intentional.

    The A's like what they saw from Tejada.

    "You don't really worry about Miggy. People have such high expectations of him, but he's human also,'' Long said. "He's relaxed and he's too good to worry about seven games.''

    Tejada twice robbed two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez of hits. He made a diving stab of a liner in the third, and in the seventh went deep into the hole to his right and completed the throw to first for the out. But Tejada also made his third error on a wild throw in the third.

    Mulder worked into the sixth inning for his seventh straight win in a span of 11 starts, giving up four runs on nine hits. He is 18-3 in his last 26 starts.

    Long led off the third with a 407-foot homer that hit off the facade of the second deck in right for a 1-0 lead. Ellis' two-out homer went 405 feet into the left-center bleachers.

    Tejada led off the fourth with a single before Valdes (1-1) got two quick outs. But his only two walks loaded the bases, and Ramon Hernandez and Chris Singleton, the last two hitters in Oakland's order, hit consecutive two-run singles to make it 6-1.

    Tejada's homer came right after Hatteberg led off the fifth with a walk.

    Valdes, who left his first two starts early because of blisters on his hand, gave up eight runs on seven hits. He struck out six.

    "He's feeling better, as evidenced by the strikeouts,'' Showalter said. "But he threw some pitches in areas he doesn't need to get them. And they hit every mistake he made.''

    Mulder left three batters into the sixth, not long after Palmeiro led off with his third homer of the season. Jeremy Fikac got out of the two-on, no-out jam with a double-play grounder and a lineout.

    Alex Rodriguez's third hit was a two-out single in the fifth, and Gonzalez followed with his AL-leading fourth homer to get Texas to 8-3. Rodriguez had an RBI double in the third.

    Texas rookie third baseman Mark Teixeira, 0-for-16 before a sixth-inning double, added an RBI single in the eighth.

    Game notes

    Mulder has a 3.20 ERA (28 earned runs) in 78 2/3 innings during his winning streak. ... Valdes' ERA jumped from 4.09 to 7.80. ... Texas has never lost more than nine straight games against one team. The Rangers also lost their ninth straight to Toronto in May 1987. ... Mike Neu made his big league debut for Oakland, pitching a perfect ninth.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press