- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Athletics 4, Orioles 2

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Tim Hudson credited his dominating performance to solid defense, good pitch selection and peer pressure.

Hudson retired his first 14 batters and pitched eight innings of three-hit ball as the Oakland Athletics beat Baltimore 4-2 Monday night for their eighth victory in nine games.

Oakland's stellar young rotation, which briefly stumbled in August, has rounded back into nearly unbeatable form. With Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Cory Lidle all pitching the best ball of their careers, Hudson who went 20-6 last season and finished second in the AL Cy Young voting feels pressure to keep up.

"It's always nice to see the guys out there pitching well," Hudson said. "It inspires you to go out there and do well. You don't want to be the weak link on the team."

Though Hudson (16-7) claimed there was nothing unusual about his pinpoint control and a nasty assortment of breaking pitches, he overwhelmed the weak-hitting Orioles for the second time in six days.

Hudson, who beat Baltimore 4-1 last Wednesday, won for the ninth time in 11 decisions. He moved one win behind Mulder, who threw a four-hitter at Tampa Bay on Sunday, for second place in AL victories.

Baltimore never even came close to a hit before Melvin Mora's solid single in the fifth.

"Really, all I had was a good two-seam [fastball]," Hudson said. "I was able to work both sides of the plate and put it where I wanted it."

Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer and played impressive defense for the A's, who opened a nine-game homestand against three losing teams with another victory for baseball's best team since the All-Star break.

The A's (81-57), who also play host to Tampa Bay and Texas, moved eight-and-a-half games ahead of idle Boston (71-64) and Minnesota (72-65) for the AL wild card lead.

The Orioles lost for the 11th time in 13 games. Baltimore, which hit .175 while going 1-8 on its recent homestand, got just four balls out of the infield in the first six innings.

"The young kids have to get more patient," manager Mike Hargrove said. "We have to look for ways to improve our on-base percentage."

Hudson struck out five, didn't walk a batter and didn't allow a runner to reach second base until Brian Roberts opened the seventh with a double.

Chris Richard followed with a double off the left-field wall to score Roberts, and Richard later scored on Tony Batista's groundout.

Jason Isringhausen pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 36 chances.

Chavez hit his 23rd homer in the fourth inning giving him 15 RBI in six games. The A's third baseman, hitting .393 in his last seven games, also made two fine defensive stops to back Hudson.

Jermaine Dye and Terrence Long added run-scoring singles in the sixth, and Jason Giambi had two hits and scored two runs as Oakland won its fourth straight against the Orioles.

Rookie Josh Towers (8-9), who won at the Coliseum earlier this season, nearly matched Hudson until the fourth, when Chavez drove a two-out pitch off the concrete facing above the right-field wall. Chavez also homered off Towers in Baltimore last week.

Towers allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings.

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