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Chavez Keeps A’s in the Chase

From Associated Press

Eric Chavez and the Oakland Athletics wasted no time in reviving their playoff push.

Chavez homered twice and Oakland’s first five batters got hits as the A’s broke out of their slump with a 12-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

It was a big victory for the Athletics, who had lost their previous two games, dropping out of a tie for first place in the American League West. The A’s remained two games behind the division-leading Angels.

“If we just continue to play like we are, it should be enough to make this thing real interesting,” Manager Ken Macha said. “Hitting has been riding a roller-coaster. Some guys are feeling good about themselves after today.”

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Oakland got four runs in the first inning against Matt Clement (13-6), scored three in the second and five in the fifth against Jeremi Gonzalez for a 12-0 lead. The A’s had only three runs and 12 hits in their previous two games. Oakland had 15 hits Sunday.

“A lot of teams do score early and kind of shut it down,” said Chavez, who drove in five runs. “It was just a refreshing day for everybody, I think, especially the coaching staff. We’ve been playing some tight ballgames and they’ve been able to sit back and relax and enjoy this one.”

Chavez, who had been in a four-for-31 slump, was three for four. He singled and scored in the first, hit a two-run homer in the second and a three-run drive in the fifth, his 25th home run.

Marco Scutaro hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Mark Kotsay drove in three runs with a two-run double in the first and a single in the second.

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Kirk Saarloos (10-7) gave up three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Oakland has 13 games left and begins a 10-game homestand tonight against Minnesota.

Boston maintained its 1 1/2 -game AL East lead over the New York Yankees. The Red Sox start a six-game trip today at Tampa Bay.

Clement gave up seven runs and eight hits in 1 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his career not related to injury.


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