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Pens perfect until the 18th

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics needed 11 innings to
solve Minnesota's bullpen. When they did, it was just enough.

Jermaine Dye's tiebreaking RBI single keyed a three-run 18th
inning, and Oakland withstood another shaky outing by closer
Octavio Dotel to beat the Twins 6-5 Sunday.

"The way this game is, until the last out, anything can
happen," Dye said.

It was the second-longest game in the 23-year history of the
Metrodome. Cleveland and Minnesota played 22 innings on Aug. 31,
1993.

This one matched the longest game in the major leagues this
season. Texas beat Seattle 9-7 in 18 innings on June 24.

After starting pitchers Mark Mulder and Carlos Silva each
allowed three runs, the bullpens took over and kept it tied at 3
until the 18th. Each team used seven pitchers in a game that lasted
4 hours, 57 minutes.

The A's broke through at last against Terry Mulholland (3-5),
who was scheduled to start Tuesday at Seattle but had to be
summoned in relief after the Twins exhausted all but one reliever.
That was Juan Rincon, who had pitched three innings over the past
two games.

"Terry took the ball," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"It probably wasn't fair, but we didn't have fair out there
today."

Marco Scutaro hit a one-out single and went to third on Eric
Chavez's single. Dye then looped a single to center to put Oakland
ahead. After Scott Hatteberg flied out, Erubiel Durazo and Damian
Miller each hit an RBI single, making it 6-3.

"We used everybody and we needed everybody," Mulder said.

But it wasn't over.

Dotel, who blew his last two save chances, gave up a two-run
homer to Justin Morneau in the bottom of the 18th before finishing
for his ninth save in 13 chances with Oakland.

"I should have done that eight innings ago," Morneau said.

Chris Hammond (3-1) pitched three shutout innings for the win.

The first-place A's moved 1½ games ahead of Texas in the AL
West. Minnesota is six games in front of Cleveland and Chicago in
the AL Central.

Mulder was six outs from becoming the first 16-game winner in
the majors, but Cristian Guzman led off the Minnesota eighth with a
tying homer.

Mulder left after eight innings, giving up six hits and striking
out four.

"I feel like I pitched yesterday," he said. "It was more hard
hoping for the team to win."

The teams had few scoring threats in extra innings. Twins
relievers combined to retire 20 of 21 Oakland hitters during one
stretch. Joe Roa gave up just one single in pitching the 13th
through the 17th.

Minnesota had its best chance to break through against the A's
bullpen in the 15th, but Lew Ford made a costly baserunning
mistake.

Rounding second on Morneau's single, Ford started toward third,
then changed his mind and tried to return to second. He was tagged
out in a rundown for the second out. Torii Hunter flied out to end
the inning.

Oakland scored three times off Silva in the seventh to erase a
2-0 deficit. Silva was coming off his first career shutout in his
last start against Anaheim.

Miller, who caught all 18 innings, tied it with a two-run
double. Mark Kotsay put the A's up 3-2 with a two-out RBI single.

"I asked if we could count this as two wins and skip tomorrow's
game," Kotsay said. "But I don't think it'll pass."

The teams play again at noon on Monday.

The Twins scored first with a two-out rally in the third. Guzman
drew a four-pitch walk and moved to second on Ford's single.
Morneau then singled home Guzman.

Luis Rivas' hustle got the Twins their second run in the fifth.
He led off with a high drive off the right-field wall. Running hard
all the way, he legged out a triple, beating the relay throw with a
headfirst slide.

Shannon Stewart followed with a sacrifice fly.

Game notes
Twins outfielder Jacque Jones was not in the starting
lineup after fouling a ball off his left knee Saturday. He
pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out. ... The last Twins pitcher
to throw shutouts in consecutive starts was Scott Erickson in 1991.
... Mulder's last loss in a day game came last July 19 at
Minnesota. ... Stewart has hit safely in 19 of 22 games since
returning from the disabled list on July 15.