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A’s outburst ties series

Greg Beacham The Associated Press
Thursday October 03, 2002

OAKLAND – Mark Mulder didn’t see panic in his teammates’ eyes after the Oakland Athletics’ playoff run got off to a rough start. 

He saw a quiet maturity from three years of postseason experience – and a pride that wouldn’t allow the A’s to fall off the pace in the division series. 

David Justice’s bases-loaded triple highlighted Oakland’s 14-hit barrage, and Mulder pitched six strong innings as the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 9-1 Wednesday to even the series at one game apiece. 

Eric Chavez had a three-run homer, and rookie Mark Ellis got three hits as Oakland emphatically replied to the Twins’ 7-5 comeback victory in Game 1 with a tremendous offensive game against Joe Mays (0-1) and the Twins’ bullpen. 

“Just looking at the guys in the locker room, you could tell everybody knew how important this game was,” said Mulder, who allowed five hits. 

Each of the first seven hitters in Oakland’s lineup got an extra-base hit as the A’s jumped to an 8-0 lead after four innings. Justice, the most prolific run-producer in playoff history, added three more RBIs to his record total during Oakland’s five-run fourth. 

“With our offense, we just look for certain guys to check in from time to time,” Chavez said. “Everybody knows our team is built on pitching. We’ve just got to ride their coattails as far as they’ll take us. Today, we were able to make it easier.” 

The Twins were on an emotional high after winning in their first playoff appearance in 11 years, but they were brought back to reality by the A’s dominant victory. Minnesota got just seven hits, scoring its only run on Cristian Guzman’s homer in the sixth. 

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he was embarrassed by his team’s effort, and his players agreed. 

“That wasn’t emotionally draining,” Doug Mientkiewicz said with a grimace. “That was, ’Please hurry up before they score 40 runs against us.”’ 

Mulder (1-0) – who went 19-7 and finished the season on a six-game winning streak – wasn’t overpowering, but he mostly stayed out of trouble while striking out three. He didn’t allow a runner to reach third base in the first five innings.