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Oakland scores six runs in first to support Zito

5/15/2003

DETROIT (AP) -- Eric Byrnes was glad to provide Barry Zito with
some run support, even if it did turn Tim Hudson into a heckler.

Byrnes hit a three-run triple in Oakland's six-run first and
Zito pitched six strong innings as the Athletics beat the Detroit
Tigers 11-2 Thursday night.

"It was nice to get a good cushion for Barry,'' said Byrnes,
who was 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBI. "We obviously felt
like we had it locked up after the top of the first because we had
a guy like Barry on the mound.

"But Huddy was giving Zito a hard time about stealing all the
runs. He was saying, 'Share the wealth.' We were having a good
time."

The A's won their eighth straight series and 11th in their last
13. Oakland (25-15) has its best record after 40 games since 1990.

Hudson is among AL leaders with a 2.88 ERA, but he is just 3-1
because of a lack of run support. He gave up only one run over
eight innings in Detroit's 2-1 win on Wednesday, with Ricardo
Rincon taking the loss.

"I was like, c'mon," Hudson said.

Zito didn't want to hear from his teammate, but he did.

"He was razzing me in the first inning, like I took all his
runs," Zito said. "He was yelling at me and I was just trying to
stay focused."

Detroit had six wins -- of a major league low nine -- in its nine
previous games.

"We had our share of tough luck," Tigers manager Alan Trammell
said. "Unfortunately, Adam couldn't get out of that and they end
up getting six runs. You look back, that was pretty much the
ballgame."

Zito (6-3) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and two
walks. The defending AL Cy Young Award winner struck out five and
retired the last nine Tigers he faced.

Zito's career record is 53-20 and his 72.6 winning percentage is
the best of any pitcher with at least 50 wins, but he is just 4-4
against the Tigers.

"It's not so much that the Tigers get in my head, but it's
probably my fault for not being aggressive enough," Zito said.

He was 2-2 in his previous four starts after giving up a total
of eight runs because Oakland supported him with just eight runs.

Adam Bernero (0-6) gave up eight runs on eight hits and three
walks while striking out two over 3 1/3 innings, his shortest
outing of the season. He had not allowed more than five runs in his
seven previous starts this season.

Bernero entered the game with the lowest run support -- 1.22 runs
per nine innings pitched -- but it would have been tough for the
Tigers to help him out enough after Oakland's first-inning
outburst.

The A's scored six runs in the first with two outs.

Ramon Hernandez beat Bernero's throw on an infield hit, which
scored Miguel Tejada. Terrence Long then walked to load the bases
and Byrnes cleared them with a his fourth triple, which bounced
into the center-field wall.

The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the home half, but
Zito got Carlos Pena to fly out to end the threat.

Detroit's Andres Torres hit an RBI triple in the second, and
scored on an error.

The A's didn't need to give Zito more run support, but they did.
Scott Hatteberg, the first to face Wilfredo Ledezma, hit a
two-run double in the fourth to put Oakland ahead 8-2.

Erubiel Durazo and Hernandez led off the fifth with a walk and
single and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Dmitri
Young. Byrnes' RBI single gave the A's an 11-2 lead.

Ledezma gave up three runs -- two earned -- and four hits.

Game notes
Oakland started 28-12 in 1990. ... Oakland's Jim Mecir,
Michael Neu and Micah Bowie pitched three innings of scoreless
relief, giving up just one hit. ... Byrnes extended his hitting
streak to seven games. ... Hatteberg snapped an 0-16 skid with a
single in the second. ... The Tigers had home runs in four straight
games and six of seven. ... Detroit has been outscored 22-7 in the
first inning this season.

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