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Durazo hits 3 homers as A's rally

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Erubiel Durazo gave Mark Mulder the offensive
support he needed -- in a big way.

Durazo hit three homers and drove in all five Oakland runs, and
Mulder became the first 16-game winner in the major leagues by
pitching the Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles
on Wednesday night.

The A's trailed 4-0 before Durazo hit a pair of two-run homers
off Sidney Ponson. Durazo then connected off B.J. Ryan (3-3) in the
eighth to break the tie and put Mulder in position to win.

"I was just trying to stick around long enough for us to score
a bunch of runs. And Ruby did that for us," Mulder said. "He did
everything today. He was outstanding."

It was only the second home run by a left-handed batter against
Ryan since 2002 and only the seventh hit that Ryan has allowed to a
lefty this season.

"I know he is really tough, so I went out there and just tried
to make contact," Durazo said. "I just feel real good at the
plate and I'm seeing the ball real good."

Durazo singled in his first at-bat and finished 4-for-4,
matching his career high for hits. It was the second three-homer
game of his career, the first coming in 2002 when he played for
Arizona.

The feat tied an Oakland club record set 12 times previously;
the last player to do it was Miguel Tejada, who now plays for the
Orioles. It also was the first time in the 13-year history of
Camden Yards that a player on the visiting team hit three home runs
in a game.

Mulder (16-4) allowed four runs and six hits in eight innings,
but gave up only one single over his final five innings.

"I didn't think Mark had his best command," said Oakland
manager Ken Macha. "That said, after the third inning he pitched
real well."

Octavio Dotel worked the ninth for his 12th save.

The first-place A's completed a three-game sweep and climbed 16
games over .500 (68-52) for the second time this season. Oakland
has won five straight on the road, its longest streak since a
10-game run in 2002.

Down 4-0, the A's got started in the fourth when Scott Hatteberg
drew a leadoff walk and Durazo homered.

The A's wasted Eric Chavez's two-out double in the fifth when
Jermaine Dye was called out on strikes, but Oakland used a familiar
formula to draw even in the sixth. Hatteberg hit a leadoff single
and Durazo drove Ponson's next pitch over the right-field wall for
his 17th homer.

Ponson then gave up two infield hits before ending his stint by
striking out Mark McLemore on his 104th pitch of the night.

Vying to win his sixth straight decision, Ponson gave up four
runs and nine hits in six innings. It was the first time since June
24 that he yielded two homers in a game.

"I didn't have command of any of my pitches," Ponson said.
"It's frustrating. Those guys gave me four runs, we should have
beat this team. But they found a way to beat us."

The credit goes to Durazo, who, according to Ponson, hit a
poorly thrown slider in the fourth and a fastball down the middle
in the sixth.

"He did what he should do, hit a home run," Ponson said. "I
couldn't keep him in the ballpark, and B.J. threw an awesome pitch.
When the guy's locked in, you can't do anything about it."

The Orioles surpassed their run total from the first two games
of the series by scoring two in the second.

Tejada hit a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by
B.J. Surhoff, who went to second on the throw to the plate. After
Darnell McDonald beat out an infield roller that moved Surhoff to
third, Jay Gibbons drove in a run with a grounder that bounced high
off the plate.

Oakland loaded the bases with two outs in the third before
Ponson retired Dye on a grounder.

Baltimore made it 4-0 in the bottom half. After Tejada singled
in a run for his major league-high 108th RBI, Melvin Mora crossed
the plate before the A's could complete a double play.

Game notes
The start was delayed for 57 minutes by rain. ... Orioles
CF Jerry Hairston will miss the rest of the season after breaking
his ankle Tuesday night. ... The A's activated LHP Arthur Rhodes
from the disabled list and optioned RHP Jairo Garcia to Triple-A
Sacramento.