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Phillips Breaks Leg, A's Sweep


Tony Phillips' season-ending injury put a damper on the Oakland's sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Phillips hit a two-run homer to help the Athletics beat the Blue Jays 9-5 Sunday, but as he tried to prevent a double play in the sixth inning he broke his left leg.

"His cleat got stuck in the ground right when he went into his slide, and that was it," Oakland manager Art Howe said. "It's a shame. Tony was really heating up, he was getting on base and he's been a leader for us all year. We're going to miss him."

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  • After being helped off the field, Phillips, who helped spark Oakland's run at the AL wild-card spot, was taken to a local hospital where X-rays revealed the break of his fibula. The 40 year-old will be operated on either Sunday night or Monday in Toronto. A screw will be placed in his leg.

    "I don't think it takes away from the weekend we had, but it hurts," said Jason Giambi, who hit three doubles and drove in two runs.

    Oakland improved to 6-0 against Toronto and moved a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays in the AL wild card race. The win combined with Boston's 4-3 loss to Seattle, moved Oakland within a game of the Red Sox. The A's are off to Boston, where they'll play four games.

    Matt Stairs, who went 6-for-13 with two homers and seven RBIs in the series, said Phillips will be missed.

    "You hate losing a veteran like that. We'll miss his leadership on the field. He keeps the club loose with his jokes, but this team is not going to roll over," Stairs said.

    The A's, who are a major league best 42-19 at home, improved to 22-34 on the road.

    Despite being in the playoff hunt, Stairs said the A's don't feel any pressure.

    "We're not supposed to be here, we're supposed to be 20 games unde .500 now, but we're just enjoying the game," he said.

    The Blue Jays, who will play four games at Oakland next weekend, have lost four straight. Toronto is 2-22 against Oakland, Boston and AL East-leading New York.

    "They beat us up," Toronto manager Jim Fregosi said. "We scored enough runs all series long, but our pitching failed us."

    Giambi, who went 3-for-4, hit an RBI double in the first, a run scoring double in the sixth, and his double in the eighth led to another run.

    "We came in loose, we had a good time, and we swung the bats," Giambi said.

    Ben Grieve's 20th homer, a solo shot in the second, gave Oakland a 2-0 lead. Shannon Stewart tied it with a two-run single in the bottom of the inning.

    A.J. Hinch reached on second baseman Homer Bush's bobble in the third before Phillips homered off Kelvim Escobar to make it 4-2. The A's scored twice more in the inning on Miguel Tejada's RBI single and on a run-scoring balk.

    Grieve made it 7-2 with an RBI double in the fifth.

    Escobar (10-9) gave up seven runs, four earned, on 10 hits in just 4 1-3 innings.

    "I think too much and try to be perfect and that's why I haven't been able to do my job," Escobar said.

    The Blue Jays got within 7-5 in their half of the fifth on Shawn Green's RBI single and Willie Greene's two-run double. But Giambi's double off Paul Quantrill in the sixth made it 8-5.

    Mike Oquist (9-7), making his first start since being moved to the bullpen on August 2nd, gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out none.

    Notes

  • Phillips went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer and a stolen base against the Blue Jays before being injured. He is hitting .244 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.
  • Ryan Christenson and Jason MacDonald will replace Phillips in center and in the leadoff spot.
  • The Jays were swept at home by the A's in a three-game series May 4-6.
  • The Blue Jays are 14-30 against teams with winning records.
  • Tony Batista extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games.
  • Oakland is an AL best 21-9 since the All-Star break.

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

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