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Mulder gets job done despite scare

4/19/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mark Mulder's pitching actually became
better after a line drive hit his throwing arm.

"Go figure,'' teammate Scott Hatteberg said.

Nothing's that surprising when it comes to one of Oakland's
"Big Three'' pitchers -- Mulder, Tim Hudson or Barry Zito.

Mulder pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Tejada and
Hatteberg homered as the Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 12-2
Saturday.

The lefty gave the crowd of 25,792 a scare when he stopped a
line drive by Einar Diaz in the third. After being checked by
trainer Larry Davis, Mulder stayed in the game.

He retired the next four batters, including two straight
strikeouts.

"I had to slow down,'' he said. "I couldn't get a lot of
effort into my pitches. It actually helped me. I couldn't
overthrow. Everything slowed down and I had to concentrate on
making my pitches.''

Mulder (2-1), who's won 40 games the past two seasons, was
challenged in several innings. He allowed baserunners to reach
second in the first, second and fifth innings, but was able to get
out of each jam unscathed.

He gave up two runs on five hits, striking out five and walking
two.

"He's gotten a little better each time out,'' A's manager Ken
Macha said. "He's gotten a little further into the game and he's
throwing the ball really nicely downhill.''

Rafael Palmeiro and Carl Everett each homered for Texas, which
lost its fourth straight road game.

Everett complained to umpires before the start of the sixth
inning that he had been hit in the back of the head with a cell
phone thrown by a fan in right field. Security was beefed up in the
area, and Oakland's Terrence Long picked something up and threw it
back into the stands when he got out there in the sixth.

The A's said the fan was arrested, and Everett said he plans to
press charges.

"Luckily I was wearing a hat,'' Everett said. "If it wasn't
for the hat, I'd be cut back there. That fan should be ashamed of
himself.''

Everett was hit four days after umpire Laz Diaz was attacked by
a fan Tuesday at U.S. Cellular field in Chicago during a White
Sox-Royals game.

"This is always happening in major league baseball and maybe
now they'll do something about it,'' Everett said. "I'm going to
be pressing charges. Fans pointed him out and they arrested him.
It's just ignorance and alcohol and probably too much of both.
That's what causes this.''

Everett then stepped to the plate and homered after being booed.
When he took the field in the sixth, Everett pointed up at the fans
behind him.

Ramon Hernandez extended his hitting streak to nine games with a
single in a 10-pitch at-bat in the fifth for Oakland. He also
doubled in the seventh after getting plunked twice.

Eric Chavez had three hits, including a single that followed
Tejada's fourth-inning homer that chased Ismael Valdes (2-2), who
had pitched eight shutout innings Monday against Anaheim but wasn't
sharp this start.

Long also had two hits and drove in two runs for the defending
AL West champion A's, who appear to be back on track at home after
a 3-7 road trip that included their first six-game losing streak in
two years.

"It's good for us to get home and get two under our belt,''
Hatteberg said.

Valdes committed an error at first base in the second inning
when he bobbled the throw from first baseman Palmeiro and allowed
Long to get aboard. The A's scored two unearned runs in the inning.

Chris Singleton snapped an 0-for-7 slump with a single that
drove home Long for the A's first run. Ron Gant scored the other
unearned run when Palmeiro botched a pickoff attempt when the ball
went off his glove and got past him.

Right-hander Rosman Garcia entered the game in the sixth to make
his major league debut for Texas, but immediately gave up a double
to Mark Ellis that ended the leadoff hitter's 0-for-12 slump, and
the homer to Hatteberg.

Valdes allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"When I tried to make a pitch, they hit it,'' Valdes said.

Game notes
Alex Rodriguez struck out three times, all swinging. He was
hit on the right knee by a pitch by Chad Bradford in the eighth
that led to the umpires warning both benches. ... Oakland RF
Jermaine Dye got a "mental'' day off. Long, the regular LF, moved
to right, and Gant started in left. Dye also is nursing a sore and
tight right shoulder, though he says it doesn't affect his hitting
or throwing.