Series: Game 3 of 3

Oakland won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, May 7
in 13
Game 2: Saturday, May 8
in 10
Game 3: Sunday, May 9

Twins 4

(17-13, 7-8 away)

Athletics 8

(15-16, 7-8 home)

    4:05 PM ET, May 9, 2004 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 011020000 4 6 3
    OAK 21003101 - 8 11 2

    W: M. Mulder (3-2)

    L: K. Lohse (1-3)

    'Big Three' haven't won since April 22

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Manager Ken Macha drove to the ballpark thinking about the struggles of his top three starters.

    Then, Mark Mulder went out and helped ease some of the concern.

    Mulder earned the first victory by a member of Oakland's "Big Three" starters in 16 days and the Athletics defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-4 on Sunday.

    Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito hadn't won in the A's last 14 games -- the longest winless stretch for the trio since Zito joined the rotation as a rookie in 2000. Their last win was April 22, when Mulder beat the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

    "I was going to get some coffee and thinking the games we've been winning have been started by the other two guys," Macha said, speaking of Nos. 4 and 5 starters Rich Harden and Mark Redman. "It was about time for these guys to kick in."

    Bobby Kielty hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs against his former team, Billy McMillon had two hits with an RBI double and Erubiel Durazo drove in two runs for Oakland, which hadn't won a series at home since the season's first week.

    Mulder (3-2) went a season-high nine innings, pitching a six-hitter for his 18th career complete game and first since Aug. 8 at Chicago. Mulder had gone seven innings three times this season.

    "This is the first time all year I've really had a good sinker," he said. "I've just kind of been waiting for this all season. It felt good."

    The left-hander, who has the most wins in the majors since 2001, called his last outing "embarrassing and ridiculous," when the A's blew a 7-1 lead last Tuesday and lost 10-8 to the New York Yankees. He allowed seven runs and 13 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

    This time, he was his usual quick self early -- needing just seven pitches to get through the first, 11 in the second, 10 in the third and eight in the fourth to give him 36 through four. He threw 110 pitches for the game.

    "I was just looking forward to it," Mulder said of the outing. "I didn't watch my Yankee tape."

    Hudson, who's 3-1, hopes he and Zito can gain momentum from Mulder's performance.

    "When one or a couple of us starts pitching well, the staff kind of follows that path," Hudson said. "We've been struggling, largely because the three of us haven't been at top form. Hopefully this will get us going."

    Kyle Lohse (1-3) had a career-high six walks in 4 1/3 innings in his seventh 2004 start.

    Kielty connected with one out in the fifth to chase Lohse, who hadn't recorded a decision in his previous three starts.

    "I battled myself all day," Lohse said.

    Kielty hit his second home run of the year on the first pitch from the right-hander, sending the ball into the right-field seats.

    Scott Hatteberg also scored after drawing a walk to lead off the inning. Kielty singled in the eighth to score Hatteberg.

    Of his homer, Kielty said, "That was a sweet thing."

    Twins star Torii Hunter was the designated hitter for the third straight day but should be back in center field soon now that his strained right hamstring has healed. He went 0-for-4 and grounded into a double play.

    Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the first when the A's tagged Lohse for four hits and drew two walks. Durazo's groundout scored a run and Hatteberg had an RBI single.

    Durazo also drove in a run with a single in the second to make it 3-1.

    Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer hit a solo home run in the second off Mulder and Henry Blanco scored an unearned run for the Twins in the third on a two-base fielding error by Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez, who allowed a skidding grounder to glance off his glove and get by him into left field.

    Cuddyer also struck out twice and had a rough day defensively. He tripped over the bullpen mound pursuing a foul ball and missed a routine popup that dropped at his feet when he lost the ball in the sun.

    Game notes

    After the game, Minnesota optioned C Rob Bowen to Double-A New Britain. The Twins plan to activate injured C Matthew LeCroy when they return home. ... The A's and Tampa Bay are the only two teams in the AL without a winning streak of three games this season. ... Durazo has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Oakland has homered in 12 straight games, their longest stretch since homering in 17 consecutive games from April 12-May 1, 2002. ... A's RF Jermaine Dye didn't start for the first time all season, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. ... Oakland SS Bobby Crosby was a late scratch because of a bruised thigh. ... A's CF Mark Kotsay was held out with right knee tendinitis. ... A's closer Arthur Rhodes tweaked his non-throwing (right) shoulder while playing catch and didn't expect to pitch until mid-week. "It's just sore," he said. "I've never had this. I want to take the safe side so I don't hurt it."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press