OAKLAND – Mark Ellis singled home Terrence Long with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Wednesday as the Oakland Athletics avoided a sweep with a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Mark Mulder (12-6) recovered from a rocky second inning to win for the 10th time in 13 starts as the A’s, who felt they were wasting chances to catch Seattle and Anaheim in the AL West, salvaged one victory against Cleveland following two narrow losses.
Eric Chavez and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for Oakland, which won for just the second time in eight games.
Jim Thome and Ellis Burks, the subject of numerous trade rumors, both were held out of the Indians’ lineup, but both stayed in a Cleveland uniform as the trade deadline arrived and passed without further moves. The Indians unloaded relievers Paul Shuey and Ricardo Rincon in recent days.
Oakland rallied from an early four-run deficit, then went ahead in the eighth when Long led off with a single against Jacob Westbrook (0-1). After Long was sacrificed to second, Ellis drove him home with a single to left. The A’s added another run on Miguel Tejada’s bases-loaded infield single.
Ricky Gutierrez had a two-run double during Cleveland’s four-run fifth. John McDonald and Omar Vizquel added run-scoring singles as Mulder endured another one of the big innings that have plagued him recently.
Except for a five-hit second inning, Mulder mastered the Indians. He allowed just one hit and two baserunners outside the second, finishing with six hits and six strikeouts over eight innings.
Billy Koch pitched the ninth for his 26th saves.
Oakland tied it 4-4 with two unearned runs in the sixth. Shortstop Vizquel’s error on Randy Velarde’s grounder kept the inning alive, and Jacob Westbrook walked Greg Myers with the bases loaded. Dye then scored on Mark Ellis’ grounder.