- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 19, 2004

BALTIMORE - Erubiel Durazo gave Mark Mulder the offensive support he needed — in a big way.

Durazo hit three homers and drove in all five Oakland runs and Mulder became the first 16-game winner in the major leagues by pitching the Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night.

The A’s trailed 4-0 before Durazo hit a pair of two-run homers off Sidney Ponson. Durazo then connected off B.J. Ryan (3-3) in the eighth to break the tie and put Mulder in position to win.

“I was just trying to stick around long enough for us to score a bunch of runs. And Ruby did that for us,” Mulder said. “He did everything today. He was outstanding.”

It was only the second home run by a left-handed batter against Ryan since 2002 and only the seventh hit Ryan has allowed to a lefty this season.

“I know he is really tough, so I went out there and just tried to make contact,” Durazo said.

Durazo singled in his first at-bat and finished 4-for-4, matching his career high for hits. It was the second three-homer game of his career, the first coming in 2002 when he played for Arizona.

The feat tied an Oakland club record set 12 times previously; the last player to do it was Miguel Tejada, who now plays for the Orioles. It also was the first time in the 13-year history of Camden Yards that a player on the visiting team hit three home runs in a game.

Mulder (16-4) allowed four runs and six hits in eight innings but gave up only one single over his final five innings.

“I didn’t think Mark had his best command,” said Oakland manager Ken Macha. “That said, after the third inning he pitched real well.”

Octavio Dotel worked the ninth for his 12th save.

The first-place A’s completed a three-game sweep and climbed 16 games over .500 (68-52) for the second time this season. Oakland has won five straight on the road, its longest streak since a 10-game run in 2002.

Down 4-0, the A’s got started in the fourth when Scott Hatteberg drew a leadoff walk and Durazo homered.

The A’s wasted Eric Chavez’s two-out double in the fifth when Jermaine Dye was called out on strikes, but Oakland used a familiar formula to draw even in the sixth. Hatteberg hit a leadoff single, and Durazo drove Ponson’s next pitch over the right-field wall for his 17th homer.

Notes — The start was delayed for 57 minutes by rain. Orioles center fielder Jerry Hairston will miss the rest of the season after breaking his ankle Tuesday night.

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