Slumping A's blow ninth-inning lead, drop fifth straight Print
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Tuesday, 26 June 2007 22:50
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 The Oakland Athletics got a solid effort from ace Dan Haren and took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. They still couldn't find a way to win.
That's how things have been going for the slumping A's.
Alan Embree gave up a two-run double to Travis Hafner and a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Kelly Shoppach - all with two outs - as the Cleveland Indians rallied past Oakland 8-5 on Tuesday night to hand the Athletics their season-worst fifth straight loss.
``This could have been a big lift for us. I let us down. It definitely stinks,'' Embree said.
Cleveland's five-run comeback kept Haren from earning his 10th consecutive win. The right-hander, who is 9-2 with a 1.91 ERA, allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Haren hasn't lost in 15 starts since falling to 0-2 in his second start of the season April 7. His nine-game winning streak matches Boston's Josh Beckett for the longest in the majors this year.
``He did a great job,'' Oakland manager Bob Geren said. ``It was hot. He battled. He pitched well against a very good hitting team.
``It was a tough loss, obviously. We had it won and they came back and took it from us.''
In other AL games, it was: Texas 9, Detroit 6; Kansas City 12, Los Angeles 4; Seattle 8, Boston 7; Baltimore 3, New York 2; Minnesota 2, Toronto 1 in 12 innings; and Chicago 6, Tampa Bay 1.
Shoppach hit a 1-0 fastball from Embree into the left-field bleachers for his fourth homer, then was pounded by jubilant teammates as he crossed the plate. It was Cleveland's sixth win of the season in its final at-bat at Jacobs Field.
``It was exciting,'' Shoppach said. ``I ran harder than usual because I was in a hurry to get beat up.''
Shoppach caught Embree (1-1) when they both played for the Red Sox three years ago.
``It was do or die,'' said Shoppach, hitting .382 with 16 RBIs in 29 games. ``I knew he'd go with his bread and butter and not let a young guy beat him on his second or third pitch.''
The Indians' sixth victory in nine games pulled them into a first-place tie with Detroit in the AL Central. The A's are nine games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West and three back of second-place Seattle.
Rafael Betancourt (1-0) got the win after yielding Shannon Stewart's fifth homer in the top of the ninth that put Oakland ahead 5-3. Mark Ellis had four hits and three RBIs for the A's.
Mariners 8, Red Sox 7
At Seattle, Richie Sexson hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth and Willie Bloomquist also connected to help the Mariners overcome another shaky start by Felix Hernandez.
Seattle won for the sixth time in seven games and beat Boston for the seventh consecutive time at home. J.J. Putz got five outs for his 22nd save in 22 chances this season. He has converted 24 straight opportunities dating to last September, the longest current streak in the majors.
Putz fanned Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez in a perfect ninth.
Royals 12, Angels 4
Billy Butler, John Buck and Alex Gordon homered to snap visiting Kansas City's six-game home run drought, and the Royals took advantage of two throwing errors by third baseman Chone Figgins.
Gil Meche (5-6) beat Ervin Santana (5-8) to win his second consecutive decision after going 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA in his previous five starts. The right-hander improved to 7-2 against the Angels and 6-1 in Anaheim.
The AL West-leading Angels, who had tied a franchise record with nine straight series victories, lost a series for the first time since AL champion Detroit took two of three from them in May. The 12 runs allowed equaled a season high.
Rangers 9, Tigers 6
At Detroit, Marlon Byrd hit a tiebreaking triple in the ninth inning and Texas recovered after blowing a three-run lead in the eighth.
Brad Wilkerson hit a three-run homer and Sammy Sosa had two RBIs for the last-place Rangers, who won for the sixth time in seven games and beat the AL Central leaders for the second consecutive night. Eric Gagne struck out Magglio Ordonez, the major leagues' batting leader, with two on to earn his eighth save.
Orioles 3, Yankees 2
At Baltimore, Corey Patterson capped a perfect night at the plate by scoring the winning run when Ramon Hernandez drew a bases-loaded walk from Scott Proctor (1-5) in the ninth inning. Johnny Damon homered for the Yankees, who have lost three straight and six of seven on their nine-game road trip.
Twins 2, Blue Jays 1, 12 innings
At Minneapolis, pinch-hitter Jeff Cirillo blooped a single to center with the bases loaded to win it. Scott Baker gave the Twins an excellent start, striking out a career-high nine in seven-plus innings.
White Sox 6, Devil Rays 1
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Andy Gonzalez and Jim Thome homered off James Shields (6-3), backing Jon Garland (5-5) and giving Chicago consecutive wins for the first time since May 20-22.
 

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