<
>

Rangers extend losing streak to eight

6/23/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Scott Hatteberg seems to save his best
for the Texas Rangers.

Hatteberg hit a three-run double off Rangers closer Ugueth
Urbina in the ninth inning to give the Oakland Athletics a 3-1 win
over Texas on Monday night, extending the Rangers' losing streak to
eight games.

"You want to be in those situations," said Hatteberg, who is
batting .474 against Texas this season. "He's a great pitcher, he
was throwing hard. I looked up and he was throwing 97. I knew
that's what he was going to try and get me out with."

It was the 20th loss in the last 22 games for the Rangers, their
worst stretch since going 2-21 in September 1972. Earlier this
season, Texas lost nine straight from May 30-June 8.

The Athletics trailed 1-0 heading into the ninth but loaded the
bases with no outs against closer Urbina.

Ramon Hernandez doubled to lead off the ninth for Oakland and
Billy McMillon followed with a walk. Mark Ellis then laid down a
sacrifice bunt, which Urbina fielded and threw to first, but first
baseman Mark Teixeira dropped the ball, loading the bases.

One out later, Hatteberg cleared the bases with a double to
right-center, giving the Athletics their ninth victory in 10 games.

"He always gives you a very intense at-bat," Oakland manager
Ken Macha said. "Comebacks in the ninth inning like that don't
happen very often but our guys were scratching and clawing.
Everybody did their job in that inning and that gives you
confidence that you can come back."

It was the fourth blown save for Urbina (0-3) in 22 chances.

Ricardo Rincon (4-3) pitched a hitless eighth to earn the win.
Keith Foulke threw a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 23
opportunities.

The ninth-inning rally also prevented Texas from beating Oakland
starter Barry Zito for the first time in 15 tries.

"It seems like the same story line with Zito. He makes the
pitches when he needs to and gets out of jams," Alex Rodriguez
said.

Zito had been 9-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 93 2-3 innings against the
Rangers entering the game. He allowed four hits over six innings,
while striking out three and walking four, and was on the hook for
the loss before Hatteberg's double.

Texas got the game's first run in the sixth when Zito began
having control problems after walking only one in the first five
innings.

Zito issued a leadoff walk to Michael Young, gave up a bunt
single to Carl Everett, and walked Rodriguez to load the bases.
After Zito got Juan Gonzalez on a popup, he walked Rafael Palmeiro
to force in a run.

"A lot of times I try to be too fine, but here I'd rather walk
a guy then give a 3-2 cookie," Zito said.

The Rangers had a chance to increase their lead but Oakland
shortstop Miguel Tejada made a diving catch on a line drive by
Teixeira, then threw to second to double off Rodriguez.

Texas starter Tony Mounce allowed four hits over five shutout
innings before tiring in the sixth.

Mounce escaped from a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth
when he struck out Jermaine Dye on a called third strike and got
Eric Chavez on a fly ball.

Mounce took a shutout into the sixth, but was lifted after 105
pitches when he walked Hernandez to start the inning and threw one
pitch to Adam Piatt. Mounce walked five and struck out four.

Rookie Rosman Garcia pitched two perfect innings of relief, and
was set to pick up first major league victory before the Rangers
came back.

Game notes
The hitters had trouble seeing the ball through the sun's
glare and the shadows across the infield in the early innings of a
game that started an hour earlier than normal because it was being
broadcast on national television. ...Teixeira got his 11th start at
third before moving over to first to start the ninth. He also has
29 starts at first base, six in left field, four in right field and
five at DH. ... This is Foulke's third season with at least 20
saves.