Series: Game 3 of 4

Oakland leads 2-1 (as of 9/18)

Game 1: Monday, September 16
Anaheim 3Final
Oakland 4
Game 2: Tuesday, September 17
Anaheim 1Final
in 10
Oakland 0
Game 3: Wednesday, September 18
Anaheim 4Final
Oakland 7
Game 4: Thursday, September 19
Anaheim 3Final
Oakland 5

Angels 4

(95-57, 43-31 away)

Athletics 7

(95-57, 50-27 home)

    10:05 PM ET, September 18, 2002 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    ANA 101200000 4 - -
    OAK 01060000 - 7 - -

    W: B. Zito (22-5)

    L: M. Callaway (1-1)

    S: B. Koch (40)

    A's hit four homers to tie for AL West lead

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A bad day for Barry Zito still meant a win -- and that's a testament to the talent of the Oakland Athletics.

    David Eckstein

    The Angels' David Eckstein avoids the tag to score in the first inning.

    Zito got his league-leading 22nd victory without being at his best and Ray Durham hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer as the Athletics moved into a tie for the AL West lead with Anaheim, defeating the Angels 7-4 on Wednesday night.

    "Our guys showed we're not going to go down easy,'' Zito said. "I didn't have my best stuff but they came out and weren't worried about being down 4-1.''

    Eric Chavez and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers to nearly the same spot in center field off Mickey Callaway (1-1) in Oakland's six-run fourth. Durham hit his shot to left-center off reliever Dennis Cook later in the inning.

    "It was big,'' Chavez said of winning for Zito. "We haven't been able to pick up our pitchers very often. They've carried us all year and it's nice to return the favor.''

    Mark Ellis added a solo homer in the second and scored twice for the A's, who lost 1-0 in 10 innings Tuesday.

    The Angels had won seven of eight and 17 of 19. The teams play Thursday afternoon in the finale of this four-game series.

    "As much as they drive the ball in the middle of that lineup, it's tough to set them up the way we did tonight,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

    Billy Koch pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 46 opportunities a night after giving up a game-winning homer to Tim Salmon in the 10th.

    Koch became the first pitcher in major league history with at least 10 wins and 40 saves in the same season.

    Zito (22-5) was tested in all but one of his 5 1/3 innings, one start after pitching a near no-hitter. He faced five batters in the first inning, four in the second, six in the third and seven in the fourth before getting a 1-2-3 fifth.

    Struggling with command of his fastball and changeup, Zito allowed four runs and seven hits, striking out four and walking four.

    The left-hander had combined on a two-hit shutout in his last outing, a 5-0 win Friday over the Seattle Mariners in which he did not give up a hit until the eighth.

    Chad Bradford held the Angels scoreless and to two hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

    "It's nice to give Zito a win when he wasn't really his best,'' manager Art Howe said. "We were right back in the game with two swings of the bat. It took every little ingredient to get it done. We needed zeros on the board from the 'pen. Chad had his best outing for a while after a couple tough ones.''

    Anaheim's Darin Erstad had four hits, an RBI and a run scored. Benji Gil, filling in for regular second baseman Adam Kennedy, went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. Kennedy came in to pinch-hit in the eighth and stayed in the game.

    Zito fell behind 1-0 in the first after allowing a leadoff walk to David Eckstein, a single to Erstad and a sacrifice fly by Salmon.

    "Even on a day Zito probably wasn't as sharp as he usually is, he's still pretty darn good,'' Erstad said.

    The A's then saved a run in the second. With Scott Spiezio aboard on a walk, Gil hit a double that rolled to the wall in right.

    Dye, playing in right field, relayed to Ellis at second, whose throw home was just in time for catcher Greg Myers to tag a sliding Spiezio.

    Ellis tied the game at 1 with his homer in the second. The Angels scored a single run in the third and two more in the fourth.

    Callaway has not been effective against Oakland. He faced the A's for the first time last Thursday, a 7-6 Oakland win in which he left trailing 5-3. This time, he gave up five runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings.

    Game notes

    The A's hit back-to-back home runs for the sixth time this season. They last did it July 31 at Cleveland, also by Chavez and Dye. With Durham's shot, it marked the third time this year the A's have had three or more homers in an inning. They had four in the third against Chicago on April 27 and three in the third May 29 vs. Baltimore. ... Gil entered the game hitting .235 (4-for-17) against Zito. ... The Angels bullpen came into the game having allowed only five earned runs in its last 55 innings pitched, spanning 18 games. ... Zito is 8-3 in 12 starts vs. Anaheim. ... RHP Francisco Rodriguez made his major league debut for Anaheim. ... Koch made his 78th appearance of the year, tying Buddy Groom (1997) for the franchise record for games pitched in a season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press