Duchscherer wins fourth start in row as A's hold off Marlins

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Justin Duchscherer is making an impressive bid for a spot in the All-Star Game. He went as a reliever in 2005, and now could be headed to Yankee Stadium next month for the midseason event as a starter.

"I think everybody's goal is to be an All-Star pitcher," Duchscherer said. "I made it one time, so I have to say, 'Yeah' [I can make it again]."

Duchscherer bounced back from a first-inning home run to win his fourth straight start, Emil Brown hit a two-run single and the Oakland Athletics won the rubber game against the Florida Marlins 7-1 on Sunday.

Duchscherer (8-4) pitched his latest great game with a sore calf that he felt early on while pushing off. He got taped up and kept going.

The right-hander improved to 4-0 in June, 6-0 at home and became the American League ERA leader at 1.99. He got plenty of offense, too -- not to mention a standing ovation when he walked off the mound in the eighth. He appreciated it, but didn't acknowledge the crowd.

"I don't want to act like a big wig," Duchscherer said. "I'm not Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan where I'm in position to tip my hat. But I definitely hear it."

Carlos Gonzalez stole home in the sixth on Oakland's third double-steal of the season and the team's second time stealing home. Bobby Crosby also did it May 11 at Texas.

Jeremy Hermida's homer was the lone run for Florida, which concluded a nine-game road trip by losing its first series in Oakland. The Marlins lead the majors with 112 homers.

A's second baseman Mark Ellis was ejected for arguing a called third strike that ended the seventh, stranding runners on second and third. Ellis threw down his helmet and bat and then was tossed by plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Manager Bob Geren hurried out to argue and also was thrown out -- the first ejections of 2008 for Oakland. It was the third of Geren's career and first for Ellis.

Geren said Ellis apparently was warned for an equipment violation and turned to Barksdale to say something but might not have been heard correctly. Ellis wasn't around after the game.

"I think it was more of a miscommunication," Geren said.

Oakland rookie catcher Kurt Suzuki continued his recent hot stretch with a hit and an RBI. He has a seven-game hitting streak in which he is batting 14-for-26 (.538) with two homers and 10 RBIs.

The A's went ahead on a passed ball in the third, allowing Donnie Murphy to score from third base. Moments later, the Marlins made a major mental lapse: Suzuki grounded out to first with the bases loaded and Jorge Cantu threw home, but backup catcher Mike Rabelo apparently didn't realize it was no longer a forceout and never tagged Ryan Sweeney.

"I don't know what I was thinking," Rabelo said. "It happened so quick. The second the ball was in the air I'm second-guessing myself: Did he touch it? Did he not touch it? The second it hit my glove and I stepped on the plate, I could just tell by the reaction that he had touched it and therefore there was no forceout at home. I just basically messed it up."

Brown followed with his second single of the game against Andrew Miller (5-6), who lasted just four innings and has only one win over his last six outings. Brown's hits came after he had struck out in each of his previous eight plate appearances, one shy of the Oakland record.

Hermida's eighth homer of the year was only the fourth allowed all season by Duchscherer in his 12 starts. The A's tied it in the bottom half on Crosby's RBI single.

Duchscherer allowed six hits in 7 2/3 innings, struck out three and walked two.

After the first two games were decided by three total runs, including Oakland's 11-inning victory Friday, the A's easily took care of this one.

Jack Hannahan made another start at first base in place of Daric Barton, who is nursing a strained right hamstring that he hurt running out an infield single in the seventh inning Friday night. But Barton was called into action after Ellis got thrown out.

Game notes
Marlins Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Felo Ramirez, a Cuban in his 63rd year behind the microphone in professional baseball, celebrated his 85th birthday. ... Former A's star Vida Blue -- the 1971 AL Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP -- threw out the ceremonial first pitch on a day the first 10,000 fans received a bright yellow '70s retro jersey with his name and No. 14. ... The Marlins called up OF Jai Miller from Triple-A Albuquerque and he made his major league debut in the seventh, then struck out to end the eighth. Miller was optioned back to Triple-A after the game to clear room for LF Josh Willingham, who will come off the DL on Tuesday. He has been sidelined since late April with a back injury. Florida also placed RHP reliever Burke Badenhop on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 14 with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. ... Florida's Luis Gonzalez hit his 583rd double in the fourth, tying Robin Yount for 16th place on the career list.