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Tejada had stranded 10 runners before winning HR

4/23/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Just when it seemed all was wrong with
the reigning AL MVP, Miguel Tejada changed things with one swing of
the bat.

Tejada homered leading off the bottom of the 11th inning and the
Oakland Athletics sent the hapless Detroit Tigers to their 17th loss in 18 games this season, 6-5 Tuesday night.

Detroit's dismal start is the worst in baseball since Baltimore
began 0-21 in 1988.

Tejada was 0-for-5 before sending a 3-1 pitch from Wilfredo
Ledezma (0-1) far beyond the left-field fence.

"I had a nightmare with me,'' Tejada said. "I know I'm
struggling, but I wanted one more time. I needed to help my team.
That's why we play nine innings.''

Well, in this case 11.

Tejada had stranded 10 runners and committed an error that led
to an unearned run that tied the game in the ninth. A's manager Ken
Macha was considering giving the star shortstop a day off to
regroup.

"We had some big hits. Hopefully, none of the hits were bigger
than the one we got at the end,'' Macha said. "Hopefully, it's the
one that gives Miggy the confidence and gets him going.''

Tim Hudson took a shutout into the eighth inning, but Keith
Foulke couldn't hold a two-run lead in the ninth.

Ricardo Rincon (1-1) pitched two innings for the win.

Dimitri Young hit a three-run homer in the eighth off Hudson and
Omar Infante had three hits for the Tigers, who fell to 1-17 -- the
worst start in franchise history.

Hudson, the lone right-hander in Oakland's rotation, did not
allow a hit to the outfield until Young's shot to left. The ball
hit the top of the fence and bounced back into the outfield but was
ruled a home run. On the top step of the dugout, Hudson slapped
over a bucket of sunflower seeds in frustration when he gave way to
Chad Bradford.

"I thought it definitely wasn't a homer,'' Hudson said. "I
thought it hit the top of the wall and came back in. What's done is
done. ... He hit it and went around the bases like it went 500
feet. Maybe next time he should open his eyes up and see how far it
went.''

Tejada is frustrated with his struggles at the plate and it
shows. After flying out to right in the fifth, which followed two
swinging strikeouts, he swung a bat against the dugout wall, broke
it and then kicked it.

Tejada, whose fielding also has been subpar, is hitting .174
(15-for-86). He struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Jamie Walker walked Scott Hatteberg to load the bases with none
out in the seventh, then Matthew Roney entered to face Tejada, who
hit into a 6-2-3 double play.

Tejada has insisted his unsettled contract situation will not be
a distraction this season, but he is playing nothing like he did in
2002, when he beat out Texas' Alex Rodriguez for the MVP Award.
Tejada made two errors in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers and then
another big one Tuesday.

Tejada is eligible to become a free agent after the season, and
the A's have told him they can't afford to give him the long-term
contract he wants. He has not said how much money he will ask for.
He made $3.65 million last season and will get $5 million this
year.

Tejada hit .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBI last season to
help the A's win 103 games.

Hudson struck out six and walked four in 7 2/3 innings before
Bradford relieved. Foulke blew a save for the first time in five
chances, allowing RBI singles to pinch-hitter Shane Halter and
Eugene Kingsale.

Detroit starter Adam Bernero gave up four runs on 10 hits in
six-plus innings, striking out four and walking one.

"It sounds like a broken record, but right now I feel
disappointed,'' Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "We came back
in the ninth and were saying it's not over. It's a cruel game, but
you have to find a way to dig a little deeper, all those clich Des.''

Mark Ellis and Ramon Hernandez each doubled and had three hits
for the A's. Chris Singleton added two hits and scored twice. Ellis
drove in two runs.

It was Oakland's first game against an opponent outside the
tough AL West. The defending division champion A's played their
first 19 games against the West.

Game notes
The A's Frank Menechino, playing in place of regular 3B
Eric Chavez, singled to right in the seventh for his first hit of
the season. ... The Tigers lost their 10th straight road game.