<
>

A's unload frustrations on Clement, Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) -- Eric Chavez and the Oakland Athletics wasted no
time in reviving their playoff push.

Chavez homered twice and Oakland's first five batters got hits
as the Athletics broke out of their slump with a 12-3 win over the
Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

It was a big victory for the Athletics, who had lost their
previous two games, dropping out of a tie for first place in the AL
West. The A's remained two games behind division-leading Los
Angeles, which beat Detroit 5-3.

"If we just continue to play like we are, it should be enough
to make this thing real interesting," Oakland manager Ken Macha
said. "Hitting has been riding a roller-coaster. Some guys are
feeling good about themselves after today."

Oakland got four runs in the first inning off Matt Clement
(13-6), scored three more in the second, then added five in the
fifth against Jeremi Gonzalez for a 12-0 lead. The A's had scored
just three runs and totaled 12 hits in their previous two games.
Oakland had 15 hits in this one.

"A lot of teams do score early and kind of shut it down," said
Chavez, who drove in five runs. "It was just a refreshing day for
everybody, I think, especially the coaching staff. We've been
playing some tight ballgames and they've been able to sit back and
relax and enjoy this one."

Chavez went 3-for-4 after entering in a 4-for-31 slide. He
singled and scored in the first, hit a two-run homer in the second
and added a three-run homer in the fifth, his 25th home run of the
season.

Marco Scutaro hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Mark Kotsay
drove in three runs with a two-run double in the first and an RBI
single in the second.

Kirk Saarloos (10-7) allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3
innings. The big lead didn't change his approach.

"You don't want to go back out there and let them right back in
the game," he said. "You can't really change your philosophy on
how you're going to pitch."

Oakland has 13 games left and begins a 10-game homestand against
Minnesota on Monday.

Boston, which split the four-game series, maintained its 1½-game
AL East lead over the New York Yankees, who lost 6-5 at Toronto.
The Red Sox star a six-game trip Monday at Tampa Bay.

"We're fortunate that the Yankees lost," Boston's Johnny Damon
said. "Everyone is scoreboard watching, the players and the
fans."

Clement gave up seven runs and eight hits in 1 1/3 innings, the
shortest start of his career not related to injury. On Saturday,
Oakland managed just four hits in a 2-1 defeat, its fourth loss in
five games.

"Just a nightmare of a day," said Clement, who lost his third
straight start. "I left a lot of balls over the plate, and they
did what you are supposed to do with balls over the plate."

Chavez's first homer followed Kotsay's RBI single in the second.
His next one came after Mark Ellis doubled and Kotsay walked.

"I'm an aggressive hitter," Chavez said after hitting both
homers on the first pitch. "I've always had the same approach."

The Red Sox began emptying their bench in sixth, when Bill
Mueller homered. Boston scored twice in the seventh on a
run-scoring double by Tony Graffanino and an RBI single by Roberto
Petagine.

Boston, which leads the major leagues in batting average and
runs, scored just 10 runs in the series.

"Normally, our bats will get us back in it, but that didn't
happen today," Damon said.

Oakland, which had 26 runs in its previous eight games, had no
offensive problems Sunday. Mark Ellis and Jason Kendall started the
game with singles, then scored on Kotsay's double. Singles by
Chavez and Scott Hatteberg produced another run, and Jay Payton's
RBI grounder made it 4-0.

Game notes
Clement went one inning on Sept. 27, 2001, when he was hit
by a Brian Jordan line drive. ... Boston 3B Kevin Youkilis left
after hurting his right ring finger while fielding a grounder by
Scutaro leading off the seventh. With Boston trailing 12-1,
Youkilis had just entered the game that inning as a replacement for
Mueller. Youkilis was to undergo X-rays to check for a break. ...
The Red Sox allowed more than 10 runs for the first time in 22
games. ... Saarloos became Oakland's fifth starter with at least 10
wins this season. The only other time the team had that many was
last year. ... The Athletics clinched their seventh consecutive
season with better than a .500 record.