A's hit four homers to tie for AL West lead

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A bad day for Barry Zito still meant a
win -- and that's a testament to the talent of the Oakland Athletics.

Zito got his league-leading 22nd victory without being at his
best and Ray Durham hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer as the
Athletics moved into a tie for the AL West lead with Anaheim,
defeating the Angels 7-4 on Wednesday night.

"Our guys showed we're not going to go down easy,'' Zito said.
"I didn't have my best stuff but they came out and weren't worried
about being down 4-1.''

Eric Chavez and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers to nearly
the same spot in center field off Mickey Callaway (1-1) in
Oakland's six-run fourth. Durham hit his shot to left-center off
reliever Dennis Cook later in the inning.

"It was big,'' Chavez said of winning for Zito. "We haven't
been able to pick up our pitchers very often. They've carried us
all year and it's nice to return the favor.''

Mark Ellis added a solo homer in the second and scored twice for
the A's, who lost 1-0 in 10 innings Tuesday.

The Angels had won seven of eight and 17 of 19. The teams play
Thursday afternoon in the finale of this four-game series.

"As much as they drive the ball in the middle of that lineup,
it's tough to set them up the way we did tonight,'' Angels manager
Mike Scioscia said.

Billy Koch pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 46
opportunities a night after giving up a game-winning homer to Tim
Salmon in the 10th.

Koch became the first pitcher in major league history with at
least 10 wins and 40 saves in the same season.

Zito (22-5) was tested in all but one of his 5 1/3 innings, one
start after pitching a near no-hitter. He faced five batters in the
first inning, four in the second, six in the third and seven in the
fourth before getting a 1-2-3 fifth.

Struggling with command of his fastball and changeup, Zito
allowed four runs and seven hits, striking out four and walking

The left-hander had combined on a two-hit shutout in his last
outing, a 5-0 win Friday over the Seattle Mariners in which he did
not give up a hit until the eighth.

Chad Bradford held the Angels scoreless and to two hits in 2 2/3
innings of relief.

"It's nice to give Zito a win when he wasn't really his best,''
manager Art Howe said. "We were right back in the game with two
swings of the bat. It took every little ingredient to get it done.
We needed zeros on the board from the 'pen. Chad had his best
outing for a while after a couple tough ones.''

Anaheim's Darin Erstad had four hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Benji Gil, filling in for regular second baseman Adam Kennedy, went
3-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. Kennedy came in
to pinch-hit in the eighth and stayed in the game.

Zito fell behind 1-0 in the first after allowing a leadoff walk
to David Eckstein, a single to Erstad and a sacrifice fly by

"Even on a day Zito probably wasn't as sharp as he usually is,
he's still pretty darn good,'' Erstad said.

The A's then saved a run in the second. With Scott Spiezio
aboard on a walk, Gil hit a double that rolled to the wall in

Dye, playing in right field, relayed to Ellis at second, whose
throw home was just in time for catcher Greg Myers to tag a sliding

Ellis tied the game at 1 with his homer in the second. The
Angels scored a single run in the third and two more in the fourth.

Callaway has not been effective against Oakland. He faced the
A's for the first time last Thursday, a 7-6 Oakland win in which he
left trailing 5-3. This time, he gave up five runs and four hits in
3 1/3 innings.

Game notes
The A's hit back-to-back home runs for the sixth time this
season. They last did it July 31 at Cleveland, also by Chavez and
Dye. With Durham's shot, it marked the third time this year the A's
have had three or more homers in an inning. They had four in the
third against Chicago on April 27 and three in the third May 29 vs.
Baltimore. ... Gil entered the game hitting .235 (4-for-17) against
Zito. ... The Angels bullpen came into the game having allowed only
five earned runs in its last 55 innings pitched, spanning 18 games.
... Zito is 8-3 in 12 starts vs. Anaheim. ... RHP Francisco
Rodriguez made his major league debut for Anaheim. ... Koch made
his 78th appearance of the year, tying Buddy Groom (1997) for the
franchise record for games pitched in a season.