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BUMBLING ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD POPUPS DROP IN ON, SINK ANAHEIM OAKLAND 6, ANGELS 3.

Byline: Joe Haakenson Staff Writer

ANAHEIM - The Oakland A's came to town with baseball's worst record and a seven-game losing streak, but they found a formula for success against the Angels.

A few well-placed popups mixed with an impressive pitching performance yielded a 6-3 A's victory before 16,368 at Edison Field on Monday.

A's starter Mark Mulder, whom the Angels beat in Oakland 10 days ago, retired the first 15 batters he faced. But Shawn Wooten broke up the perfect game leading off the sixth, hitting his first major-league homer.

Mulder (1-1) settled for a five-hitter in six-plus innings. He left the game after giving up two hits to start the seventh, finishing with seven strikeouts and no walks.

The game included one of the more bizarre halnnings in the young season.

The top of the second began tame enough as the A's used a couple of singles to put runners on first and second.

Then it got weird.

Eric Chavez hit a popup to shallow left, where left fielder Garret Anderson and shortstop Benji Gil converged. But at the last moment, both backed off and the ball fell in for a single, loading the bases.

Frank Menechino followed with a popup to shallow center. Center fielder Darin Erstad raced in and Gil backed up, but the ball fell in when it appeared Erstad lost the ball in the twilight sky. One run scored as the runners moved up a base.

Then Johnny Damon hit a popup to shallow right field near the foul line. Second baseman Adam Kennedy got there in time but missed the ball completely for an error. Again, the baserunners moved up a base and the A's were up 2-0.

Finally, Miguel Tejada hit a sinking liner to shallow left-center, but Erstad made a diving catch and doubled up Menechino off second base. Jason Giambi finally ended the inning with a flyout to left field.

Jarrod Washburn, making his first start of the season for Anaheim, conceivably could have gotten out of that inning without any damage. But in the fourth Menechino drove in two runs the easy way - with a two-run homer, his first of the season, for a 4-0 A's lead.

Washburn, who began the season on the disabled list because of a spring training bout with strep throat, went 6 2/3 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) and 12 hits with two walks and a strikeout.

Completely shut down for five innings, the Angels had a chance to get back in it after Wooten's homer. Kennedy followed with a single and, two outs later Tim Salmon singled, bringing up Troy Glaus representing the tying run. But Glaus struck out on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt.

A single by Anderson and an RBI double by Bengie Molina knocked Mulder out of the game in the seventh. Jim Mecir replaced Mulder and gave up an RBI single to Glenallen Hill, the Angels closing to within 6-3.

The A's went into the game at 2-10 and seven games behind the first- place Mariners.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Anaheim second baseman Adam Kennedy watches the ball go by as he misses a fly ball off the bat of Oakland's Johnny Damon on Monday at Edison Field.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 17, 2001
Words:548
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