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A's Shoot Down Blue Jays


The playoff-hungry Oakland Athletics gave themselves another reason to believe Saturday.

A.J. Hinch hit a grand slam during an eight-run first inning as Oakland routed the Toronto Blue Jays 13-5 Saturday.

With the win, the A's record improved to 10 games over .500 at 63-53.

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Game Summary

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  • "The confidence on this team is really high right now, and the next step is to take control with Texas, Boston and Toronto in front of us," Hinch said.

    The A's, who moved within one-half game of the Blue Jays, have won the first two games of the three-game series to improve to 5-0 against Toronto. They've outscored the Blue Jays 45-19 this season.

    The Red Sox, with their 13-2 win over Seattle, increased their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Blue Jays for the AL wild card.

    "We're winning because we're hitting the long ball," said Hinch, whose team has homered in 15 consecutive games, hitting 36 homers in that stretch. "We took them out of the game early, and it felt good because this is a big series for us."

    In a half inning that took 31 minutes to complete, the A's sent 13 men to the plate. Jason Giambi had an RBI single, Matt Stairs had a two-run hit and Eric Chavez added an RBI single before Hinch's first career grand slam.

    "It was a dream come true to hit that, what a feeling," said Hinch, who was recalled from the minors July 26th. "It was no fun struggling in my first two years in the majors, but I went down and regained my confidence."

    In the shortest outing of his career, Joey Hamilton> (5-7) gave up eight runs seven earned and four hits in just one-third of an inning. Hamilton, who felt a twinge in his shoulder in his previous two starts, considered letting someone else take his start a few days ago. He seemed to be favoring his shoulder against Oakland.

    "I think subconsciously I was thinking about the soreness in my shoulder," Hamilton said. "I went out there with no control. I looked at the tape and my arm slot was off."

    The Blue Jays are 2-21 against Oakland, New York and Boston this season.

    "I haven't been in this kind of situation since my days in Boston," said Stairs, who had 88 at-bats with the Red Sox in 1995. "It's nice to know we're 10 games over .500, the last few years we didn't have the manpower to stay in the hunt, so that's a boost of confidence."

    Stairs is 6-for-9 with five runs and seven RBIs in the series.

    Miguel Tejada hit a three-run homer in the second and Randy Velarde hit a solo shot in the third as Oakland starter Tim Hudson was staked to a 12-0 lead.

    "It's easy to pitch with an 12-0 lead," Hudson said. "I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked, but I was able to get outs."

    Hudson (7-1) gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two in winning his fifth straight decision.

    Delgado hit his 35th homer, a two-run shot, in the seventh. Delgado has nine homers in his last nine games.

    Jason McDonald added a solo homer in the ninth, his second of the season, to complete the scoring.

    "To have any shot of making the postseason you have to be at least 10 games over .500," Oakland manager Art Howe said. "Hopefully we can add on to it."

    Notes

  • The eight runs in the first are a season high for the A's in an inning.
  • The A's are in the midst of an important seven-game road trip, with one more game against Toronto and four in Boston. The A's host the Blue Jays for four games beginning next weekend.
  • The Blue Jays are 14-29 against teams with a winning record.
  • After Peter Munro loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, Paul Spoljaric came in and struck out the side.
  • The A's extended their errorless streak to a club-record 11 games.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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