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Durazo, Ellis spark Athletics in victory

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Darrell May was one pitch away from an impressive complete game. Unfortunately, that one pitch was just terrible.

Erubiel Durazo hit a game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth
inning, and Mark Ellis hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th as the
Oakland Athletics beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Sunday.

Durazo's two-run homer spoiled a brilliant start by May, who
came agonizingly close to a five-hitter and his third career
complete game. With a 3-1 lead and a 1-2 count on Durazo, May threw
a sinker that didn't sink -- and Durazo ruined his afternoon.

"The only thing I can tell myself is to look at the positive,''
May said. "I threw nine innings, and I threw the ball well. It
just goes to show you how important all 27 outs are.''

May, in his second season with Kansas City after pitching in
Japan for four years, didn't walk a batter and retired nine
straight at one point as the A's flailed at his assortment of
off-speed pitches.

His sinker began to fade in the late innings, but he kept
getting outs -- until he allowed a two-out double by Miguel Tejada
in the ninth. After a conference at the mound, Kansas City manager
Tony Pena didn't make a change.

"I wanted to find out how he felt,'' Pena said. "He said,
'Fine,' so I said, 'OK, it's your ballgame.' I did not go to the
mound to take him out. He was throwing the ball so well. ... One
bad pitch, and that was about it.''

May got two strikes before Durazo clubbed that belt-high pitch.
At first, May thought it was a fly ball -- but it carried, clearing
the right-field scoreboard by inches.

The large Coliseum crowd, nearly lulled to sleep by Oakland's
struggles, roared as Durazo pumped his fist while rounding the
bases with his eighth homer of the season.

"He threw me two (sinkers) in a row, and then he threw the
third, and I hit it,'' Durazo said. "I was just trying to do my
job.''

In the 10th, shortstop Angel Berroa's throwing error on a
routine grounder allowed Terrence Long to reach second base. After
two walks by D.J. Carrasco (3-3), Ellis punched a single over the
drawn-in infield. Ellis, hitless in his first four at-bats, was
mobbed by his teammates in the infield.

"We're on the edge of our seat every game,'' Oakland manager
Ken Macha said. "Even the games we lose are tight games. We're
just biting nails every day. ... It's not like we're in a tailspin
or a slump. Sure, we're not hitting, but we're finding other ways
to win some of these games.''

Keith Foulke (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings in an unlikely
victory for the A's, whose offense struggled mightily during their
3-3 homestand.

The A's wasted another outstanding start by Tim Hudson, failing
to get a runner past second base until Ramon Hernandez's two-out
homer in the seventh. Hudson allowed just five hits and two earned
runs over seven innings, but he was hurt once again by poor run
support.

"Eventually, we're going to start hitting again,'' Hudson said.
"Nothing changes about the way I do my job. The guys have picked
me up plenty of times before. It's just a matter of time, I
think.''

Michael Tucker and Raul Ibanez had early run-scoring doubles for
the Royals, who have lost nine of 12.

Kansas City got its first run in the second inning when Durazo
comically fumbled Hudson's soft toss to first base after the
pitcher fielded Carlos Beltran's grounder.

Beltran advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Tucker's double.
Durazo, usually a designated hitter, also failed to catch Brent
Mayne's liner later in the inning, but Ellis grabbed the
deflection.

The Royals added two runs in the third on hits by Ibanez and
Beltran. Hudson didn't allow another hit, retiring nine straight
batters at one point.

It was the seventh straight no-decision for May since losing his
first start of the season.

"It seems like a long time since my last win,'' said May, who
hasn't won since last Sept. 11.

Game notes
Eric Byrnes extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a
leadoff single in the first. ... May struck out a career-high nine
batters at the Coliseum last July 6. ... A bit of help might be on
the way for Oakland's struggling offense: OF Jermaine Dye, out
since April 24 with torn cartilage in his knee, homered in his
first at-bat to begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A
Sacramento. Dye probably will rejoin the A's in Kansas City next
weekend.