A’s End Longest Losing Streak in 9 Years

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

OAKLAND, Calif. – Lenny DiNardo pitched seven shutout innings and the Oakland A’s ended their longest losing streak in nine years with a 6-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

DiNardo, making his second start since taking Rich Harden’s spot in the rotation, allowed three hits, struck out three and walked none. The left-hander gave up a pair of doubles and a bunt single but was otherwise untouchable in the longest outing of his major league career.

Bobby Crosby homered and drove in two runs for Oakland, which had lost its previous nine games. The losing streak was the A’s longest since 1998 and had dropped them 12 games out of first place in the AL West.

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Oakland won despite getting just six hits off Texas starter Kevin Millwood and reliever Willie Eyre. Three of the hits came off Millwood during a four-run second inning, the A’s most productive inning since scoring seven runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees on July 1.

Millwood, coming off his best outing of the season when he allowed one run over seven innings against Anaheim on July 13, never recovered. The right-hander (6-8) didn’t allow another hit but received no support from the Rangers offense and lost for just the second time in his last seven starts. He left after six innings and finished with four strikeouts and three walks.

The loss prevented Texas from matching its longest winning streak of the season. The Rangers, who had won three straight, also failed in their bid to sweep a series for just the second time this year.

DiNardo (4-6) retired the first eight batters he faced before Travis Metcalf lined a hit just inside the third-base line with two outs in the third. Metcalf was awarded second base when a security guard who thought the ball was foul grabbed the grounder and gave it to a fan in the stands. DiNardo then got Jerry Hairston to ground out to third to end the inning.

After Hairston reached on a bunt single in the sixth, DiNardo retired eight straight batters before giving way to Santiago Casilla to start the eighth.

The A’s, who had gone 11 straight games without scoring more than three runs before Tuesday’s 11-4 loss to the Rangers, broke out of their scoring slump early against Millwood when they sent 10 batters to the plate in the second.

Marco Scutaro and Shannon Stewart each had RBI singles, Crosby added a bases-loaded walk and Travis Buck drove in another run with a sacrifice fly. Three of the four runs were unearned after Millwood’s throwing error on Mark Kotsay’s comebacker.

Crosby, the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, was batting just .177 entering the game. He also hit a solo drive off Eyre in the seventh for his eighth homer.

Notes:@ Former A’s player Ben Grieve attended the game to visit his father, Tom, a radio broadcaster with the Rangers. Grieve was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1998 and spent four seasons with Oakland before signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2001. … Texas C Adam Melhuse, acquired in a trade from Oakland on June 9, went 0-for-3 against his ex-teammates.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)