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Mulder retires first 13 in dominant three-hitter

4/24/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mark Mulder and his manager knew his left
arm was fine when they went out golfing earlier this week and the
pitcher was 1-over par after nine holes.

On Thursday, Mulder's game was superb for nine innings. In his
first outing since taking a ball in the forearm, he retired the
first 13 batters and pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout
since last June to lead the Oakland Athletics over the Detroit
Tigers 2-0.

During his golf outing with Ken Macha, Mulder finished with a 76
on a course in nearby Livermore.

"I was surprised he asked me to play a day after I got hit in
the arm," Mulder said.

There were no signs the lump on his arm from Saturday's liner
affected his delivery or control.

Mulder (3-1) only allowed six balls out of the infield after the
first inning in his most efficient start of the season. He threw
just 25 pitches through three innings, 16 for strikes, and was out
of the first inning in six pitches.

Craig Monroe singled to shortstop in the fifth to break up
Mulder's no-hit bid. The ball glanced off Mulder's glove, slowing
it just enough for Monroe to barely beat out the throw by Miguel
Tejada. Mulder struck out three and walked one.

"I felt this good the last couple starts, but I just made some
mistakes," he said. "I didn't make mistakes. I pretty much kept
the same rhythm the whole game."

The Tigers, who beat Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito on
Wednesday for their second win of the season, are 2-18 -- the worst
20-game start in club history. They lost in Tim Hudson's start on
Tuesday.

"The three pitchers we just faced are the top dogs in baseball
and we competed against them," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.
"We had a chance against them and that's some sort of positive."

Detroit starter Nate Cornejo (1-2), who spent the majority of
last season at Triple-A Toledo, gave up one run and five hits in
six innings. Dean Palmer had two hits for the Tigers.

"I didn't have my best stuff but I was able to mix it up and
get some groundballs," Cornejo said. "Unfortunately, Mulder
pitched a great game, too."

Eric Byrnes went 2-for-3 and scored Oakland's first run in the
fifth on Chris Singleton's sacrifice fly. The A's added an unearned
run in the seventh, when shortstop Omar Infante committed two
errors on the same play.

A's right fielder Jermaine Dye left in the fifth because of
discomfort in his right knee after slipping on the dirt while
fielding a double by Dean Palmer. It rained earlier Thursday.

Second baseman Mark Ellis and center fielder Singleton went to
check on him and immediately waved trainer Larry Davis and Macha
onto the field.

After a brief conference, Dye slowly walked off under his own
power.

Dye, who broke his left fibia during the fourth game of the 2001
division series against the New York Yankees, was replaced by left
fielder Terrence Long, and Byrnes came in to play left.

Dye said he doesn't consider the injury serious and expects to
be out only one or two games if at all. No tests were done on his
knee, but he wore a protective sleeve on it after the game.

"I don't know what it is," he said. "It felt like the tendon
rolled over on the side of the bone. There's some swelling behind
the bone and it's stiff now. I've done this before."

Macha has been saying he wants his starters to go deep into
games, and Mulder obliged. He struggled in his opening start this
season but won his previous outing, 12-2 win over Texas on
Saturday.

Mulder's last shutout was June 12, 2002, against Milwaukee and
his previous complete game came July 3 last year against Minnesota.

Cornejo walked Scott Hatteberg with two outs in the sixth,
loading the bases for Miguel Tejada, who flied out. Tejada, the
reigning AL MVP, went 0-for-4 and is hitting .160.

Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez fielded a chopper by Craig
Paquette with his bare hand in the fourth and released the throw in
the same motion, nailing Paquette at first just in time.

Game notes
Mulder is 9-1 with a 3.01 ERA over his last 14 starts
dating to Aug. 17 last year. ... Cornejo's father, Mardie, went 4-2
in 25 relief appearances for the New York Mets in 1978, his only
big league season. ... Mulder threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes. ...
The Tigers have the worst batting average in the majors at .177.

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