OAKLAND, Calif. -- You just knew the American League playoffs couldn't end without one more showdown between Dwight Evans and Dennis Eckersley. But this was a close encounter of the humorous kind.
It was a touching scene, considering all that had happenebetween the two old friends and former teammates. Eckersley twice struck out Evans in the series, and both times the reliever's method of celebration was an issue.
As Evans walked away yesterday, Eckersley told reporters, "thought he was going to hit me." Everyone laughed, and Evans returned to ask, "What did you say?" Eckersley smiled as he repeated his words.
Evans turns 39 on Nov. 3, and it appears his 19-year career witthe Red Sox might be drawing to a close. He played in the 1975 and 1986 World Series, but Boston lost both times.
"I've got two engagement rings," Evans said. "That's what I calthem. I want a wedding ring. Other teams don't know how fortunate they are. Just watching those guys from Oakland . . ."
His voice trailed off.
The Eck would understand.
* CANSECO CORNER: A's manager Tony La Russa left no doubhe was worried about Jose Canseco, who continues to struggle while recovering from hand and back injuries.
Canseco finished the series 2-for-11, but also drew five walksstole two bases and hit a sacrifice fly. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts yesterday before leaving the game in the sixth inning.
"I'm real concerned," La Russa said. "I'm proud of the fact hcompeted. In each of the first three games he did something.
"Hopefully, by the time the World Series starts [Tuesday], he caget himself physically ready. It's a shame to have talent like that ,, going out there physically handicapped."
* STREAKS AND SUCH: The A's have won 10 straighpostseason games, matching the second-longest streak in major-league history. The Yankees won 10 in a row from 1937-41, 12 in a row from 1927-32.
The Red Sox have lost 10 straight postseason games sincGame 5 of the 1986 World Series, eight to Oakland. That matches Kansas City for the second-longest postseason streak -- one behind Philadelphia.
Carney Lansford and Wade Boggs became the fourth and fiftplayers to record seven hits in a four-game league championship series. Most recently, Rudy Law had seven for Chicago when the Orioles beat the White Sox, 3-1, in 1983.
* THE WIZARD OF WALPOLE: Morgan kept his good humothroughout the series, even after the Roger Clemens controversy erupted yesterday. He played a central role in the dispute, but did not get ejected.
"I never swore -- and I've been known to swear," Morgaexplained. "I learned something from Rene Lachemann a few years ago. He said, 'Never use the pronoun, 'you.' I didn't use that today."
Lachemann is the A's third-base coach.
* A REGULAR CLARK KENT: Umpire Terry Cooney on thClemens ejection: "I'm fully cognizant of the magnitude of this game. I've been in this league 16 years, and I am a pretty easygoing umpire. I've had very few ejections over the years. I still felt I had to do my job."
Orioles manager Frank Robinson, no friend of umpires, said frohis home in Bel Air, Calif., "He's usually pretty calm, one of the more easygoing guys. I think this will surprise everyone, but even more so because it was Terry Cooney."
* AROUND THE HORN: The A's have won six playoff series, thmost of any club since the inception of divisional play in 1969. The Orioles and Los Angeles each have won five.
The Red Sox batted .183 in the series, the lowest in the playoffsince Kansas City hit .170 in a three-game loss to Detroit in 1985. Take away Boggs, who went 7-for-16, and Boston batted .145.
More on the Red Sox hitting: Mike Greenwell went 0-for-14Carlos Quintana 0-for-13, Tom Brunansky 1-for-12 and Jody Reed 2-for-15. That's a combined 3-for-54 (.056).
Rick Honeycutt earned his first save in 19 postseasoappearances. It was the first time Eckersley did not appear in an Oakland ALCS win in the last three years.
What do you think of that Boston bullpen now? No runs anthree hits in 6 1/3 innings yesterday. Red Sox relievers allowed 12 runs (11 earned) in their previous 6 1/3 innings.