Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Oakland leads 2-0 (as of 5/31)

Game 1: Monday, May 30
Tampa Bay4Final
in 11
Oakland5
Game 2: Tuesday, May 31
Tampa Bay1Final
Oakland10
Game 3: Wednesday, June 1
Tampa Bay2Final
Oakland11

Devil Rays 1

(19-34, 3-20 away)

Athletics 10

(19-32, 11-12 home)

    10:05 PM ET, May 31, 2005

    O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 010000000 1 5 1
    OAK 02040040 - 10 10 0

    W: D. Haren (2-7)

    L: H. Nomo (3-5)

    Nomo denied his 200th professional victory

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Dan Haren had to convince Ken Macha to let him stay in the game, because Oakland's manager was about to call on the bullpen.

    Haren pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game, and rookie Nick Swisher had a bases-loaded triple and a career-high four RBI to lead the Athletics past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10-1 on Tuesday night.

    "It's a great feeling," said Haren, who ended a seven-start winless stretch. "I've never felt this way before after a win. I've never been out on the field for the last out and shaken the catcher's hand."

    Mark Kotsay moved down to third in the order and hit a two-run single as Oakland won its second straight following an eight-game losing streak, denying Hideo Nomo his 200th combined victory in Japan and the United States.

    The milestone will have to wait, much to the chagrin of his home nation. The game was televised live by two networks in Japan, with the first pitch being thrown just after 11 a.m. Wednesday there.

    Nomo (3-5) was outpitched by fellow right-hander Haren (2-7), who struck out five, walked none and threw 98 pitches for his first victory since April 18. It was just the seventh win by an A's starter this season and the second in the last 26 games.

    "He wanted to complete the game, and he had a huge smile on his face when he did," Macha said. "He knows he can go out there and go nine."

    While Swisher all but announced that the A's season is on the upswing, Kotsay refused to get too excited about two wins.

    Swisher said he sensed an improvement in the mood of the team during Monday's 5-4, 11-inning win.

    "Something happened last night that changed the attitude of the team, the momentum," he said. "I have no idea what it was. It's just a feeling that came over in the dugout, like someone flipped a switch."

    Kotsay, the veteran center fielder, teased his younger teammate about making such observations too quickly.

    "You can't base it on two games at this point," Kotsay said. "Yes, we're playing better and have done fundamental things to win baseball games."

    Scott Hatteberg turned an unassisted double play at first base for the A's, who got hits from all but two of their starters. Kotsay, usually the leadoff man, hit third for the first time this year and found success despite coming in with a dismal .171 (7-for-41) average and 10 strikeouts lifetime against Nomo.

    The A's used four straight left-handed batters in the middle of their order: Kotsay, Eric Chavez, Dan Johnson and Hatteberg. They pounded Nomo for four runs in the fourth and batted around in the inning, taking advantage of three walks.

    Haren retired the side in order in the first on 10 pitches before allowing an RBI double to Alex Sanchez in the second. The right-hander then got through a perfect third in 11 pitches and faced one batter over the minimum in his last seven innings.

    "Twice, he's had pretty good stuff against us," Tampa Bay's Josh Phelps said. "Tonight, he was just tough."

    Nomo, a 36-year-old right-hander, earned his 199th win with his strongest performance of the season, a season-high 7 1/3 innings in a 2-1 victory over the A's last Thursday.

    This time, he was done after four innings. He allowed six runs and seven hits, walked six -- one shy of his career high -- and struck out two as the Devil Rays fell to a major league-worst 3-20 on the road.

    "More important than 200 wins was the fact that we had two disappointing losses the last two days," Nomo said through an interpreter. "I hoped to win one for the team. I can't tell you why or what was different, because I don't know."

    Upon reaching 200 wins, he will gain automatic membership in the Meikyuakai, one of two Hall of Fame equivalents in Japanese baseball. There is the Japanese baseball Hall of Fame, which includes elected members, and the Meikyuakai, automatic for players with 2,000 career hits and pitchers with 200 victories.

    Nomo, who has 121 victories in 11 major league seasons, got through the first in 14 pitches despite allowing a leadoff double to Jason Kendall. Nomo ran into trouble in the second after giving up another leadoff double, to Johnson. Bobby Crosby singled him home two batters later for the shortstop's first RBI this season, then Swisher singled to right two batters after that to make it 2-1.

    Bobby Kielty had an RBI single in the fourth.

    Game notes


    RHP Chad Orvella made his major league debut for the Devil Rays in the seventh. ... Nomo is 5-2 in eight career starts against the A's. "Two hundred wins is a lot of wins," manager Lou Piniella said before the game. "If you win 200 games in Mexico it would be a lot. It doesn't matter where you win them. It's a lot of games, a lot of good pitching. Certainly he's had a distinguished career. He's been very professional, competed very well and he's had the success to prove it." ... Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, now a special adviser to the chairman for Los Angeles, was on hand to root for Nomo. ... A's No. 2 starter Rich Harden is progressing from a strained stomach muscle that landed him on the disabled list. He is scheduled to throw on flat ground Wednesday from 130 feet and move further back from there.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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