OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The Oakland Athletics'
record-breaking 18th straight win may have been their most
dramatic of the season.
The Athletics squandered a two-run lead in the top of the ninth
inning but pulled out a 7-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on
Miguel Tejada's three-run homer with one out in the bottom half.
The major leagues' longest winning streak in 49 years appeared
in jeopardy when A's starter Mark Mulder surrendered solo homers
to Matt LeCroy and Corey Koskie in the top of the ninth. Closer
Billy Koch served up another solo blast to rookie Michael
Cuddyer as Minnesota took a 5-4 lead.
But Ramon Hernandez drew a leadoff walk on eight pitches from
closer Eddie Guardado (1-3). Ray Durham fell behind 1-2 before
lining a single to right. Pinch hitter Olmedo Saenz took a
controversial third strike, but Tejada - who had a two-run homer
in the third inning - hit a 1-2 pitch into the left-center
field seats for his 30th home run of the season.
"Oh, man, that's amazing," Tejada said. "I feel real good. This
is my first time that I hit a walk-off home run. And it felt
so good the way we came back. We're down and we came back, and
that makes me real happy right now."
"MVP, period," Koch said of Tejada. "Three letters describe the
guy. I don't think there's any other choice. Look what he's
done for us. If he wasn't on this team, where'd we be? I'm
pretty sure it's not where we are right now."
The blast sent the crowd of 37,676 at Network Associates
Coliseum into a frenzy and broke the record for the longest
winning streak in franchise history. It also was the Athletics'
second walk-off three-run homer against Guardado this season
after Saenz hit one on July 2.
The 18-game run matches the second-longest in American League
history. The 1947 New York Yankees and 1906 Chicago White Sox
share the record with 19-game winning streaks. The major league
mark is 26, owned by the 1916 New York Giants.
"It's nice to have this kind of run going. We want to keep it
going," A's manager Art Howe said. "We feel like we're not
ready to stop, so each game is really a separate entity. That's
how I approach it and that's the way we're trying to approach
"We have a great chance to win because of our pitching staff. We
have a fresh, great arm going out there every night. So why
not, why can't we keep it going?"
Making his third appearance in as many days, Koch (7-2) recorded
his first win since July 20.
"There's not too many different ways we can do this and continue
this thing out," he said. "That's unbelievable. That's just
It was the sixth blown save in 44 chances for Guardado, who had
allowed just one home run in his previous 19 appearances, a span
of 18 2/3 innings.
"I threw a drop-down fastball," he said. "I thought it was low,
but it caught too much of the plate and he reached down and got
it. As soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone. The ball
travels in this place. He hit it pretty decent. What are you
going to do? Tejada's an All-Star."
Tejada put Oakland in front in the third with a two-run homer
and Mulder did not allow a hit from the first through the sixth
But Torii Hunter tied it with a two-run shot, his career-high
27th, in the sixth.
"Eighteen games in a row, I mean, those guys are hot," Hunter
said. "You touch 'em, you'll burn yourself. And Tejada and
(Eric) Chavez, all those guys over there, they're good. When
they get hot, you can't play against those guys. Boy, they're
just unbelievable right now."
John Mabry broke the deadlock in the bottom half against starter
Joe Mays with his ninth home run and Durham delivered an RBI
"I thought we were in good shape going into the ninth inning the
way Mark was pitching," Howe said.
But LeCroy and Koskie chased Mulder with back-to-back homers and
Cuddyer put the Twins in front two outs later.
"That's one for the books," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"We proved a lot to ourselves today, coming back. That was a
helluva series. All games were tight, all games were close. And
that's the way it should be with these two teams."