"If would have said to me a week ago that we would be tied, I
would have said you were crazy," Chavez said after Miguel Tejada
homered and had three hits as the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue
Jays 8-6 Monday night.
Tejada went 15-for-31 as Oakland went 5-2 on a trip to Boston
and Toronto. The Athletics, who lost Mulder to a stress fracture in
his right hip, are tied with Seattle atop the AL West, holding a
share of first place for the first time since May 15.
While Oakland has won three straight and at 76-55 is a
season-high 21 games over .500, Seattle has lost six straight.
"Our starting pitching really didn't do anything in Boston. Our
bullpen picked us up big time and then we found out about Mark, it
was real tough," Chavez said. "The whole team knew that
offensively and defensively that we were going to have to pick it
up, and we've been doing that."
Terrence Long went 4-for-5 for the A's, who also are tied with
Boston in the AL wild-card race.
"It's going to be fun from here on out," Long said.
Oakland's offense, which has been inconsistent this season, has
scored 36 runs in the last three games.
"Now we're hitting the way we're supposed to be hitting,"
Tejada said. "We've started hitting just in time."
Ted Lilly (7-9) won for the first time in five starts since July
25, allowing three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in 6 1-3
innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Oakland led 7-3 in the eighth when Josh Phelps hit a three-run
homer off Ricardo Rincon. The A's Erubiel Durazo hit a solo homer
off Trever Miller in the ninth, and Keith Foulke got five outs for
his 34th save in 39 chances. Toronto had two on with one out in the
ninth, but Carlos Delgado flied out and Tom Wilson hit a
Toronto starter Cory Lidle, activated from the disabled list
before the game, gave up seven runs and nine hits in four-plus
innings against his former team. Lidle (11-11) hadn't pitched since
Aug. 7 because of a strained left groin.
"The results weren't there, but I felt good about the outing,"
Long hit an RBI double in the third, but Vernon Wells had a
run-scoring double in the bottom half.
Oakland batted around in the fifth and took a four-run lead.
Tejada hit his 21st homer, Long had an RBI double and reliever
Jason Kershner hit Jose Guillen with a pitch with the bases
The A's returned home after the game for a six-game
homestand against Baltimore and Tampa Bay. ... The Blue Jays lost
three of four to Oakland.