Oakland hits five homers, downplays sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics refuse to get too
excited about sweeping Anaheim at this point in the season -- even
though the Angels took three straight here back in April when the
A's were at full strength.

Damian Miller hit two of Oakland's five home runs, and the A's
completed a three-game sweep of their division rival with a 7-3
victory Thursday.

"It's nice to sweep them, but it's July 1," Miller said.

And Oakland is still in second place, a half-game behind Texas
after the Rangers lost 8-4 to the Mariners in Seattle.

Kirk Saarloos (1-0) pitched five-plus shutout innings in a spot
start, receiving a standing ovation when he left following
back-to-back singles by Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero.

Saarloos was 0-5 in his previous 10 major league starts and
hadn't won a start since Aug. 25, 2002, when he beat Cincinnati
while with the Astros. He has two relief wins since.

"Back in Houston my starting wasn't very good," said Saarloos,
who isn't sure how long he'll stay with the big league club. "To
get this win in my first start here is pretty good. I didn't have
spring training with them. This is the first extended look they've
had at me."

Bobby Crosby, Jermaine Dye and Bobby Kielty also homered for
Oakland, which has won six of eight heading into its final
interleague series this weekend against the San Francisco Giants.

After Anaheim scored three runs in the seventh against Justin
Lehr, Ricardo Rincon, Chad Bradford and Octavio Dotel finished up.

Kielty, playing for the first time since he was scratched Sunday
with a ribcage injury, also made two impressive plays in left
field. Adam Kennedy singled in the fifth and was going for second,
but Kielty threw him out. In the sixth, Kielty ran down a shallow
fly to left-center by Garret Anderson and skidded on his knees to
make the tough catch.

Jarrod Washburn (8-4) failed to win for the seventh time in
eight starts following a six-start winning streak. Jose Molina hit
a solo homer and Kennedy matched his career high with four hits for
the Angels, who lost their fourth straight game and sixth in eight.

Anaheim stranded 14 baserunners, including nine by Robb Quinlan.
That frustrated manager Mike Scioscia, who called a team meeting
after Wednesday's 4-2 loss.

"Our numbers with runners in scoring position have been soft
for quite some time," Scioscia said. "You just have to keep
perspective. Every team has gone through a tough spell."

Washburn, who beat the A's in back-to-back April starts, allowed
six runs -- all on homers -- and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He
escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first when he got Crosby to
ground into an inning-ending double play.

"I'm a fly ball pitcher and aggressive, so there's always going
to be home runs," Washburn said. "Every homer today was on a bad
pitch. ... This is a little long for us. We haven't played very
good baseball for some time now and we can't afford to play like
this for very much longer."

Saarloos, who allowed five hits, retired seven straight after
David Eckstein's leadoff single in the first before Kennedy doubled
in the third. The right-hander was called up Sunday from Triple-A
Sacramento to help the ailing A's, who have five players on the
disabled list.

Saarloos, 25, was acquired from Houston on April 16 for Chad
Harville and assigned to Sacramento. He was 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in
two starts at Triple-A New Orleans and 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four
outings for Sacramento.

Kielty, still unable to bat left-handed, hit a 3-2 pitch into
the left-field bleachers in the third for his sixth homer of the
year. Crosby connected an inning later, sending his 11th homer deep
to center.

Dye hit his team-leading 16th homer in the sixth, a two-run shot
and the first of his career against Washburn. Dye is batting .448
(13-for-29) against Washburn.

Miller connected for his sixth homer three batters later, also
driving in two runs. He added a solo shot in the eighth for his
fourth career multihomer game and first since April 11, 2002, with
Arizona at Colorado.

Anaheim left Oakland with a three-game sweep April 23-25, but
now the A's lead the season series 7-6. The teams, considered the
favorites to win the division when the year began, don't play again
until Sept. 24-26.

Game notes
Angels DH Tim Salmon missed his second straight game with
the flu. ... Dye has 18 homers and 47 RBI in his career against
Anaheim. ... Angels 1B Darin Erstad was a late scratch with
irritation of the knuckle on his right middle finger. ... Kennedy
had his second four-hit game this year. ... Washburn pitched 15
straight scoreless innings before Kielty's homer.