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Lilly wins fourth straight start

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ted Lilly walked off the field and
quickly found himself a seat next to manager Ken Macha in the
dugout to get an explanation.

When he was pitching so well, why in the world did he have to
come out so soon?

Lilly won his career-best fourth straight start and Erubiel
Durazo went 3-for-4 with a double to lead the Oakland Athletics to
a 3-0 win over the Anaheim Angels on Wednesday night.

The A's desperately needed a strong pitching performance, and
Lilly calmly delivered -- for 5 1/3 innings, then four relievers
sealed the deal.

"Initially, I didn't agree with it," Lilly said of Macha's
decision. "I didn't really understand it. The decision came down
to matchups. ... If there's any point in the season you'd like to
be feeling good and pitching well, it's now."

He retired the first seven Angels hitters and nine of the first
10 batters as the A's won for the second straight night against
Anaheim following a frustrating three-game losing streak. Oakland
remains 2½ games ahead of Seattle in the AL West -- its biggest edge
in the division since April 10 -- after the Mariners beat Texas 3-1.

Durazo, batting in the second spot in the order for the fourth
time this year, is 10-for-45 (.222) with one RBI in his last 14
games, but is showing signs that he's working out of his offensive
funk.

Lilly (10-9) gave the A's their second impressive outing by a
starter in as many nights. Justin Duchscherer pitched seven
scoreless innings in Tuesday's 8-1 victory.

Lilly, who improved to 3-0 against the Angels this season, is
5-1 over his last 10 games (nine starts). He allowed four hits,
striking out five and walking one. Chad Bradford, John Halama, Jim
Mecir and Keith Foulke completed the shutout, with Foulke earning
his 40th save in 45 chances.

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Rich
Harden all lost their starts during the three-game losing streak,
so the A's are aiming to get back into a pitching rhythm during the
postseason push.

"He doesn't have to prove anything," Macha said of Lilly.
"He's gone out and gotten four consecutive great starts when we
needed them."

Durazo was 1-for-8 (.125) lifetime against Anaheim starter
Jarrod Washburn (10-14) before this game. Durazo singled in the
first and fourth innings and doubled in the fifth.

"Right now, I have the best stuff probably I've ever had,"
Washburn said. "It's just not showing in the win-loss column."

The A's tagged Washburn for three straight hits to start their
three-run fourth inning, including a run-scoring triple to the wall
in center by Eric Chavez after Durazo's single. Miguel Tejada
followed with an RBI double to the wall in left-center to score
Chavez and Scott Hatteberg's groundout moved Tejada to third. Jose
Guillen then doubled to the wall in left-center to score Tejada and
make it 3-0.

Tejada managed only his second hit in 41 at-bats against
Washburn, who gave up seven hits in seven innings, striking out
seven and walked none.

"I know in my career I've been bad against him," Tejada said.
"Today's a new day."

When asked how Washburn pitches to him, Tejada said: "Yeah,
work me, the way he's supposed to do it."

The Angels had runners on second and third with two outs in the
fifth after A's catcher Ramon Hernandez made an errant throw to
first trying to pick off Adam Kennedy. The ball got past Hatteberg
at first base and traveled into the outfield, allowing the runners
to advance. Lilly struck out Chone Figgins looking to escape the
jam.

Only four Anaheim baserunners got past first.

"We got part of the equation right. We had our chances early,"
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We got leadoff hitters on, but
we couldn't get that hit with guys in scoring position."

Jermaine Dye made a great catch against the wall in right field
on a hard-hit ball by Garret Anderson in the sixth. Dye was plunked
in the ribs in the fourth by Washburn.

Game notes
Lilly has won three straight starts twice, during his most
recent streak and also from Sept. 28, 2002 to April 25, 2003.
During his last four wins, he has a 1.48 ERA. ... Kennedy stole his
20th and 21st bases of the season, both in the third inning. ...
Angels C Jose Molina is yet to walk this season in 107 plate
appearances. He walked five times last year. ... Washburn fell to
0-2 this year against the A's, who he hasn't beaten since April 19,
2002. ... Anaheim's David Eckstein went 0-for-2 in his first start
after being activated from the disabled list Tuesday. He'd been on
the DL since Aug. 19 with nerve irritation in his right hamstring.
... The A's lead the season series against the Angels 9-7. Anaheim
hasn't won a road series since going 6-0 in Oakland in 1997 or an
overall season series since 1999 (8-4).