- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

OAKLAND, Calif. — While the Orioles and Athletics endured late-night cross-country flights to California, Scott Hatteberg was home in bed.

That bit of extra rest came in handy at the end of a marathon victory.

Terrence Long doubled and scored on Hatteberg’s bases-loaded pinch-hit single in the 12th inning as the Oakland A’s kept pace in the playoff race with their fourth straight victory, 2-1 over Baltimore on Tuesday night.

Both teams played on the East Coast on Monday, setting up brutal overnight trips. Orioles starter Jason Johnson, who pitched seven strong innings, said the schedule was “the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

But Hatteberg, who missed the A’s last three games with a sore back, was sent home early from Toronto for an MRI. He wasn’t expected to play Tuesday night, but told manager Ken Macha he felt fine — and then Hatteberg got his teammates home at a more reasonable hour with a game-ending hit.

“I’d been swinging a bat all game long, just in case it came up,” Hatteberg said. “The pain isn’t near what it was. I’m the guy with the rest right now, so it was good to help out.”

Oakland remained tied atop the American League West with the Seattle Mariners, who beat Tampa Bay. Both teams have a one-game lead in the AL wild-card race over the Boston Red Sox, who lost to Toronto.

Long led off the 12th with a double to the left-center gap against John Parrish (0-1), and advanced to third on Tim Raines Jr.’s throwing error.

Long began to sprint for home, but retreated to third — and the Orioles argued Long should have been called out for grabbing third-base coach Ron Washington to steady himself while turning around.

After Baltimore walked two batters to load the bases, Hatteberg drove Hector Carrasco’s pitch through the drawn-in infield to center.

“It could have gone either way, but they made some nice plays and made good pitches when they needed them,” Parrish said.

Ramon Hernandez prevented a Baltimore run earlier in the 12th with an exceptional tag at home.

Mike Wood (2-0) hit Luis Matos with a pitch, then bounced a pickoff throw past Erubiel Durazo at first, allowing Matos to reach third. When Jeff Conine grounded back to the mound, Wood threw home — and Hernandez caught the poor throw, did a pirouette on his knees and reached back to tag Matos’ foot at the plate.

The Orioles lost their third straight and fell to 0-4 at the Coliseum this season.

The A’s bullpen was exceptional behind rookie starter Rich Harden, who walked six batters in five shaky innings. Chad Harville and Keith Foulke retired 12 of 13 while pitching two scoreless innings apiece among the bullpen’s seven scoreless innings.

Johnson remained unbeaten in six starts since July25, shutting out the A’s into the seventh. But Mark Ellis’ solo homer ruined Johnson’s chance to set a new career high with his 11th victory.

“I wanted this win big-time today,” Johnson said. “I did everything I could, but we just came up short. It’s really frustrating.”

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