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Stairs HR In 9th Dumps Chisox


Matt Stairs ran into a welcoming committee at home plate... the entire Oakland Athletics team.

Stairs triggered the high-fiving, back-slapping celebration with his latest game-ending homer, a two-out, two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning as the A's beat Chicago 7-5 Sunday to complete their first four-game sweep of the White Sox in 29 years.

"Right now, we're feeling confident about coming back," Stairs. "There have been times in the past when we got down 4-0 and without really doing it on purpose, kind of packing it in. But now, we still feel confident. It's just been timely hitting, being patient, getting runners on and getting the big hit."

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Game Summary

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  • Stairs, who matched his career high with his 27th homer, has made a habit of getting the big hit. Sunday's drive, which followed a walk to John Jaha, marked his third game-ending homer of the season.

    "I guess Stairs thought Jaha wouldn't score, so he had to hit it out," said Oakland manager Art Howe, who led the welcoming charge from the dugout. "We can't have any more momentum than we have right now. We're playing as well as we can."

    Said Stairs: "It seems like every time I've come up in those situations, I think home run. That's what I do best. I feel comfortable in those situations. It gives you a lot of adrenaline."

    Doug Jones (3-3) got the victory after blowing a save in the top of the ninth. He was one out away from closing it out when Magglio Ordonez connected for his 26th homer, a solo shot that tied it at 5.

    Keith Foulke (1-3) walked Jaha with two outs in the bottom half, and Stairs drove 2-0 pitch deep into the right-field seats.

    Foulke said he tried to get a changeup past Stairs.

    "It's one of my best pitches but I got burnt on it today," he said. "I made it easy for them with the walk before that."

    Stairs, who also had game-ending home runs May 15 against Minnesota and May 31 against Tampa Bay, said he was indeed looking for the changeup after getting ahead of Foulke.

    "He's not going to groove a fastball," Stairs said. "I was actually sitiing on the change the first two pitches. Then, I got ahead of him. In that situation I look for certain pitches and it seems like I've been getting them."

    Oakland improved to 9-1 on its homestand and a season-high nine games above .500 (60-51) for the first time since winning the AL West with a 96-66 record in 1992.

    The last time the A's had a four-game sweep of the White Sox was in May 1970, when they turned the trick at Comiskey Park. This was Oakland's first four-game sweep of Chicago at home.

    Oakland trailed 4-0 before surging in front with a five-run sixth inning, getting a go-ahead, three-run double from Miguel Tejada.

    James Baldwin was working on a two-hitter when Randy Velarde singled to begin the sixth and start Oakland's go-ahead burst.

    Jason Giambi followed with an RBI double, extending his hitting streak to 16 games, and Jaha beat out an infield single.

    Stairs then hit a bouncer down the first-base line and Frank Thomas made a scoop and missed it. The ball rolled into right field and Giambi scored, Jaha went to third and Stairs reached.

    Scott Eyre relieved and walked Ben Grieve. Bill Simas came on with the bases loaded to face Tejada, who doubled. Tejada went 3-for-4.

    "We basically gave the ballgame away with those extra outs we gave them," Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. "That was pretty much the turning point. You can't give those guys that many outs."

    Tim Hudson allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing in 12 starts for Oakland since his June 7 promotion from Triple-A Vancouver. He struck out four and walked three.

    Paul Konerko hit two-run homer for the White Sox. Carlos Lee had a two-run double.

    Notes

  • Giambi made a couple of diving stops at first base and left the game in the ninth because of a bruised left shoulder.
  • Stairs has hit six of his homers during the homestand.
  • The White Sox bullpen fell to 0-3 with two blown saves on their current road trip.
  • The A's are a major league-best 40-17 at home. They have exceeding their win total at home (39) during all of last year.

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

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