- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Even the surging Oakland Athletics agree that the Mariners' first three-game losing streak in a year shouldn't detract from Seattle's sensational season.

"It just goes to show you how consistent they've been," A's manager Art Howe said after his team routed the AL West champions 11-2 yesterday.

Terrence Long, Ramon Hernandez, Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada all homered for the A's, baseball's hottest team with a 56-18 record since June 27.

Seattle, which lost to Anaheim 6-3 on Thursday and to Oakland 5-1 on Friday, had not lost three straight since Sept. 21-23 last year against the A's at Safeco Field. Before this weekend, the Mariners had 11 two-game losing streaks.

No major league team has gone an entire season without losing three straight since the 1902 Pirates.

"The goal is not to go the whole season without losing three in a row," Seattle second baseman Mark McLemore said. "The goal is to win the World Series. That's what we're trying to accomplish."

The Mariners also failed in their bid to become first major league team to go an entire season without losing a series on the road. Seattle, which finishes the weekend series today, had gone a major league record 29 consecutive road series without a loss since dropping two of three at Detroit on Aug. 22-24 last season.

"If you'd told me in spring training we wouldn't lose a road series, I'd tell you that's impossible," Mariners catcher Tom Lampkin said. "To get this far, to be where we are, we've done a pretty good job."

Seattle (106-43) needs eight wins in its final 13 games to tie the AL record set by the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48) and 10 wins to match the major league record established by the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36).

Oakland (91-58), which has the second-best record in the major leagues, won its 11th straight home game the most for the team since it moved to Oakland in 1968 and cut its magic number for clinching the AL wild card to two.

The A's have won 18 of their last 20 and could wrap up a playoff spot today.

"We played two great games against a great team," designated hitter Jeremy Giambi said. "If we go out and do it, we do it. If we don't, we don't. There's plenty of games left."

Erik Hiljus (5-0) allowed two runs and seven hits in 5? innings, struck out eight and walked two.

Oakland took a quick 5-0 lead against Joel Pineiro (5-2), who gave up six runs two earned and seven hits in two innings.

Pineiro loaded the bases in the first inning with one out. McLemore bobbled Chavez's grounder for an error, allowing leadoff hitter Johnny Damon to score.

Long followed with a sacrifice fly, Tejada and Hernandez each had RBI singles and Tejada scored on Lampkin's passed ball.

The A's added a run in the second on Jason Giambi's RBI double-play grounder.

"Too many balls were up, and they did what they were supposed to do: They hit it," Pineiro said.

John Olerud homered in the fourth off Hiljus, and Mike Cameron's sacrifice fly in the fifth scored Ichiro Suzuki, who singled.

With one out in the fifth, Long hit a solo home run, Tejada singled and Hernandez homered for a 7-2 lead.

Chavez added his 28th homer in the seventh, and Tejada hit his 28th one out later. The A's have homered in a season-high 12 straight games.

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