Gil Heredia's first career complete game was a rain-shortened, five-inning tie in 1993. Now he has one he can be proud of.
"This is a real one," he said Tuesday night after going all nine innings in the Oakland Athletics' 12-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. "Now I can frame that ball and say, `I pitched a nine-inning complete game."'
Heredia (10-5) scattered 10 hits while striking out six and walking two to cut Boston's lead in the AL wild-card race to one game. The Red Sox hold a 2 1/2-game lead over Toronto, which lost to Seattle 8-5 Tuesday night.
"The choices are to miss a start, miss a couple of starts or go on the DL," said the two-time Cy Young Award winner, who missed all of the 1996 season after shoulder surgery. "I don't know. I really need to come in tomorrow morning and talk with a few people."
Ben Grieve and Scott Spiezio also homered as Oakland scored eight runs in the seventh inning to squelch fears that its bullpen would blow a 4-0 lead for the second consecutive night. Spiezio and Randy Velarde each had three of the A's 17 hits.
"That was the difference between last night and tonight: we added on," Oakland manager Art Howe said. "We got the early lead last night and we couldn't do anything."
The Red Sox loaded the bases in the eighth, but Heredia struck out Troy O'Leary looking and got Mike Stanley to grund out to end the inning. When Heredia came back to the dugout, Howe gave him the option of finishing.
"First complete game, and it was a beauty," Howe said.
Actually, Heredia was credited with a complete game on May 28, when he gave up two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs that was rained out and called a 2-2 tie.
"Being out there for 27 outs that's the big thing," he said.
Saberhagen (9-5) allowed four runs, three of them earned, and six hits in two innings his shortest outing since he injured his right shoulder while pitching for the Colorado Rockies on the last day of the 1995 season.
Saberhagen got out of the first inning OK, then gave up singles to Matt Stairs and Spiezio to start the second before Tejada followed with his 15th homer. Velarde singled home Eric Chavez to make it 4-0.
Mike Stanley hit a solo homer to lead off the fifth and make it 4-1.
Oakland also took a 4-0 lead in the series opener on Monday before the Red Sox won 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth on Brian Daubach's three-run double. But this time, the A's kept scoring.
"We had a tough loss last night. It just shows you the character of our club," Howe said. "Everyone was all concerned it was like a death in the family with you writers. But this club has bounced back all year long."
Tim Wakefield struck out Ryan Christenson to start the seventh, but Velarde singled and Grieve followed with his 21st homer. John Jaha walked and Stairs doubled before John Wasdin came on and, on his second pitch, gave up Spiezio's fifth homer to make it 9-1.
Tejada singled and Chavez walked, and both scored on Christenson's single. Velarde singled to score Christenson and make it 12-1.
The eight runs in the inning tied a season high for both teams: Oakland scored eight in the first inning on Saturday against Toronto, and the Red Sox gave up eight in the eighth inning of a June 9 loss to Montreal.
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