Eichhorn, Moyer try to shake off painful loss


OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics continued to use the Orioles' bullpen as a ladder up the American League West standings, rallying to a 7-6 victory at Oakland Coliseum yesterday.

The Orioles have blown leads in the sixth inning or later in six of their past seven losses and the A's have been the benefactors in four of those.

Mark Eichhorn was on the mound when the winning run scored in three of the four late losses to the A's and for four of the six overall recent late-inning fall-from-ahead losses.

"Got to take the good with the bad," said Eichhorn, who was so good during a stretch from May 4 through June 16 he did not allow a run in 15 consecutive outings spanning 21 innings.

Rallying from a 6-0 deficit yesterday, the A's scored two runs off Jamie Moyer in the seventh inning, four runs off Alan Mills in the eighth and a run charged to Tom Bolton in the ninth when Rickey Henderson scored the winning run on Eichhorn's wild pitch.

The A's, who won three of four games in the final 1994 series between the teams, came from behind late in Thursday's opener as well, scoring a run charged to Mills in the eighth and Eichhorn in the ninth, to win, 4-3.

Mark McGwire's two-run home run off Lee Smith in the ninth inningJuly 10 gave the A's a 5-4 win.

On July 7, Eichhorn allowed three runs in the sixth inning and the A's rallied to a 6-4 win.

Orioles manager Johnny Oates went to his bullpen at the start of the eighth yesterday after Moyer had allowed a two-run home run to Mark McGwire in the seventh inning.

"I thought Jamie got tired in the seventh," Oates said. "Up to that point he pitched well."

Oates is well aware of the bullpen's recent struggles.

"What am I going to do?" Oates said. "You can't stop using them. You have to go with the personnel you have. They'll get hot again."

Moyer, who has a history of tiring in the late innings, didn't second-guess Oates' decision to go to the bullpen.

"I didn't really feel tired, but he's got a feel for what he's doing," Moyer said. "I'm not the manager and I'm not going to second-guess him by any means."

Yesterday's was easily the toughest for the Orioles to stomach of all the recent late-inning collapses.

"It's just a phase we're going through," Moyer said. "There is no reason to give up on them now. We went through that phase earlier this season and we're all back. We're all still alive. The sun came up again."

The Orioles have lost four of their past five games, a stretch that spanned seven days thanks to a pair of postponements in Seattle after a Kingdome ceiling tile fell into the stands.

"Not to make an excuse, but when you come to the ballpark expecting to play two days in a row and you end up sitting around, that's like having two All-Star breaks," Moyer said. "There isn't much you can do about that, though. That's the way the ball bounces. That's the way the tile falls."

No bullpens are perfect. Even Dennis Eckersley almost gave up a run in the ninth yesterday, but a charging Henderson caught Mark McLemore's bloop to left field to leave the bases loaded.

The A's loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but they didn't stay that way for long.

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