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Oakland Pounds Tribe 11-6

The Oakland Athletics continued their assault on Cleveland pitching Saturday.

It took a clutch relief performance from Billy Taylor, however, to preserve an 11-6 win as the Athletics won their eighth straight over the Indians.

With Oakland leading 9-6, Taylor came on with the bases loaded in the eighth and retired Manny Ramirez on a force play to earn his 28th save.

"Everybody's swinging the bat well up and down the lineup, but Taylor getting Manny Ramirez ... that was the ballgame," Oakland manager Art Howe said.

"A matchup like that is what I really enjoy about being a closer," Taylor said. "Manny is so tough. We tried to keep him off balance with sliders. This time, we had some success."

Rookies Ben Grieve and A.J. Hinch each had three RBIs and Scott Spiezio drove in two runs for Oakland, which had 16 hits after getting a season-high 24 in a 14-6 win in 10 innings Friday night.

"A.J. had a huge hit to put us up 4-3, then got another RBI single later," Howe said. "He got us going."

Ramirez went 3-for-5 with his 33rd homer and made a spectacular catch, while rookie Richie Sexson hit two homers for Cleveland.

Grieve tied it 5-5 in the sixth with an RBI double off Tom Martin (1-1). Spiezio followed with a two-run double off the left-field wall and later scored on a single by Hinch.

A two-run single by Hinch gave Oakland a 4-3 lead in the fifth. But Cleveland tied it in the bottom of the inning when Ramirez hit an 0-2 pitch from Jimmy Haynes (10-6) into the left-field bleachers. One out later, Sexson hit his third homer of the season to put the Indians up 5-4.

Haynes allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings.

Ramirez robbed Oakland of three runs in the first. With the bases loaded and two outs, the runners took off when Spiezio hit a pitch from Dwight Gooden to right-center. Ramirez raced to the wall, leaped and made a backhanded catch.

"I thought I had a chance so I went after it because I knew Kenny (Lofton) would be there to back me up," Ramriez said. "If I'm going to make an error at least it will be while I'm trying hard."

Ramirez put Cleveland ahead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single and made it 2-0 by scoring from first on Travis Fryman's double off the wall in right-center.

Oakland tied it 2-2 in the third. Jason Giambi singled, went to third on Matt Stairs' single off the wall in left-center, and scored on Grieve's double to right. After Spiezio struck out, Stairs scored on Mike Blowers' sacrifice fly.

Cleveland went ahead 3-2 in the third when Sexson singled in Ramirez, who had doubled.

Gooden allowed four runs on eight hits and five walks in 4 2-3 innings.

"I struggled all game," said Gooden, ho made 56 pitches in the first two innings. "I kept trying to regroup but it was just one of those days."

Sexson hit his second homer of the game in the seventh to make it 9-6.

"The last two days, I'm fairly concerned about our pitchers' inability to get ahead of hitters," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "You can't be 2-1 or 3-1 in the count on every hitter."

Notes:

  • David Justice was scratched from the Cleveland lineup with a bruised left thumb. He came in as pinch-runner in the eighth.
  • A fourth-inning flyout snapped Giambi's streak of reaching base safely at eight straight (five singles, two walks, one homer).
  • Giambi, Stairs and Grieve are hitting a combined .446 (50-for-112) with eight homers and 30 RBIs against Cleveland this year.
  • Ramirez has 45 RBIs in his last 37 home games.
  • Cleveland's Paul Assenmacher was ejected by home plate umpire Tim McClelland in the ninth for questioning balls and strikes.
  • Lofton had three stolen bases and is 16-for-16 since last being caught, July 10 at Minnesota.

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