OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ken Macha had little preference who stood
in the batter's box with the game on the line, because Oakland's
recent success has the skipper confident in every one of his guys.
It just so happened to be No. 9 hitter Marco Scutaro, already
responsible for three game-winning hits this season after producing
two last year.
He did it again.
Scutaro lined a single to left to drive in the winning run in
the 10th inning, and the Athletics rallied to defeat the Cleveland
Indians 5-4 on Wednesday for their eighth win in nine games.
"The way we've been playing, I'm happy to see most of the guys
up there," Macha said. "Everybody's been coming through. That's
what this whole thing's been about -- everybody picking each other
Scutaro, originally signed by Cleveland out of Venezuela 11
years ago, was anxious to contribute after failing to get a
sacrifice bunt down in the ninth and going 0-for-3 in his previous
"Today, I didn't do anything the whole game," he said. "I was
trying to get a base hit to make my day."
His teammates made his day afterward, all right. Scutaro was
plowed and punched in a crazy celebration near first base. His
batting helmet was still on, which made the hits hurt -- so he
quickly threw off the hat and headed to the clubhouse.
The A's improved to 8-2 in extra innings this year. Rookie
Huston Street (4-1) pitched two innings for the victory.
Oakland tied it in the ninth against closer Bob Wickman, who had
converted his previous 11 saves but blew his fourth save
opportunity of the year.
"Last night I got them out on the same balls I threw today,"
Wickman said. "Today, I had a two-run lead and lost it."
Wickman allowed three straight singles starting the ninth,
including an RBI drive to left by Payton that snapped an 0-for-18
slump. Jason Kendall singled in the tying run two batters later.
Bobby Kielty hit a solo homer and Nick Swisher hit an RBI double
in the first to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. Swisher hit another double
in the third, and Dan Johnson had a career-high four hits for the
A's, who improved to 11-3 since the All-Star break.
Aaron Boone hit a two-run homer and Scott Elarton pitched seven
strong innings, but the Indians couldn't hold a two-run lead. Boone
also added singles in the sixth and seventh innings, and has hit
safely in 13 of his last 17 games. Grady Sizemore had three hits
and Victor Martinez and Coco Crisp two each for Cleveland.
The Indians stopped Oakland's seven-game winning streak with a
2-0 victory Tuesday night, then quickly got to starter Dan Haren,
whose league-best winning streak was preserved at seven games when
his team tied it late.
Haren allowed a career-high 12 hits in his first career meeting
with Cleveland, but is 7-0 in his last 12 starts. He hasn't lost
since a 2-1 defeat to Tampa Bay on May 26.
Elarton was efficient after losing his previous two starts. He
allowed two runs on seven hits before giving way to Arthur Rhodes,
booed as he took the mound to face his former team.
Elarton, who beat Oakland on May 28 at Jacobs Field, has lasted
at least seven innings in each of his last five starts.
After Swisher's second double, Elarton retired 10 of the next 12
batters he faced before allowing Kielty's seventh homer of the year
with two outs in the sixth.
The Indians got to him for six hits in the first two innings,
including Boone's 10th homer of the year in the second, a shot to
Haren lasted just 5 1/3 innings for the second straight outing.
He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter, and the A's avoided
losing back-to-back games for the first time since July 6-7 at
Toronto. They haven't dropped a home series since May 13-15 against
Haren's hits also were a season high for Oakland. He
allowed 10 hits in a game six times, the last being July 10 at
Chicago. ... A's CF Mark Kotsay missed his third straight game
because of a sore back. Kotsay, who was rehabbing away from the
ballpark Wednesday, had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed almost
the same problem that sidelined him from May 19 to June 5, 2003,
while with San Diego. "He's slowly getting better, just not as
fast as we'd like," trainer Larry Davis said. "We'll see how he
is Friday. If he's not ready then, we'll give him a couple more
days off. We're at a point in the season where you don't want to
doom someone and have them go out there and play at 85 percent. ...
The game drew 40,331, including a walk up of approximately 15,000
for the club's sixth annual root beer float day, which raised
$51,700 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.