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Good Grief: Grieve Blasts Rangers

Relaxed after sleeping in his own bedroom at his parents' home, rookie Ben Grieve put on a show for family and friends Tuesday night.

Grieve homered twice in his hometown debut and the Oakland Athletics hung on after blowing most of a nine-run lead to beat the Texas Rangers 9-7.

"It was neat to do it here," Grieve said. "It was exciting, but I know my parents are 10 times more excited about it than I am. It's just a lot more special because it came at home. I saw some of my friends in the outfield. It's kind of neat to say, "Hi" to them."

Grieve, who grew up watching the Rangers, hit two-run shots in the first and second innings to help the A's take a 6-0 lead.

His first career multi-homer game led the A's to their fourth victory in five games. Texas has lost five of six.

"That's quite a display, two-run homers in your first two at-bats at home," said A's manager Art Howe.

Grieve's father, Tom, a former major leaguer and Rangers general manager, watched from the broadcast booth where he's a TV analyst. Grieve's mother and sister looked on from the stands.

"I never swing hard for home runs, they just happen," said Grieve. "Anytime you do something like that with your family watching, it's special."

Buddy Groom (3-1) pitched two hitless innings of relief for the win, and Billy Taylor pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save. A's relievers retired the final 13 Rangers.

"You know no lead is safe in this park, especially with the wind blowing out," Howe said. "The bullpen deserves the credit."

"I was glad to step in and shut the door in a game like this," Taylor said.

Mike Oquist started for the A's in place of former Ranger Kenny Rogers, scratched with pain in his lower back. Rogers will start Wednesday night against the Rangers.

Oquist was staked to a 9-0 lead in the fourth, but couldn't get out of the fifth.

The Rangers loaded the bases on two walks and a single in the fourth and Lee Stevens' two-run single made it 9-2.

Texas added five runs in the fifth. RBI singles by Rusty Greer, Will Clark and Stevens knocked out Oquist, and Fernando Tatis added a two-run single off Aaron Small to make it 9-7.

Oquist allowed seven hits and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings.

"In the fifth I wasn't as aggressive as I should be," Oquist said. "I got a couple of balls out over the plate and they started coming back."

Rangers starter Matt Perisho (0-1) got in early trouble in his first start for Texas. He walked leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson, and one out later, Grieve lined a shot into the lower deck in right for a 2-0 lead.

Oakland added four more in the second against Perisho as Henderson drove in two with a double, and Grive hit a towering drive into the upper deck for his 10th homer.

Perisho lasted only 2 1-3 innings, allowing seven runs and five hits.

"He was really trying to impress everybody," Rangers manager Johnny Oates said. "I thought he was jumpy a little bit, and that's not the way he pitches. He wasn't trying to hit his spots."

Bournigal's sacrifice fly in the third stretched Oakland's lead to 7-0, and rookie Miguel Tajada added a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 9-0.

Notes: Grieve's second-inning homer was only the second ball hit into the upper deck in right field at The Ballpark this season. ... Right-hander Bobby Witt, the second-winningest pitcher in team history, was designated for assignment before the game. Texas has 10 days to trade, release or send Witt to the minor leagues. Witt's fate was sealed when he allowed six runs and eight hits over 3 1-3 innings in Monday's 8-5 loss to Anaheim. ... Ownership of the Rangers was officially transferred to Tom Hicks on Tuesday. Hicks' $250 million bid was approved by major league owners last week. ... Grieve leads major league rookies in average, runs, hits, total bases, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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