MINNEAPOLIS – The Oakland Athletics found a great way to quiet that noisy Metrodome – hitting home runs, both in and out of the park.
Ray Durham led off the game with a sinking liner that let him circle the bases and Scott Hatteberg followed with a drive over the right-field wall, sending the Oakland Athletics past the Minnesota Twins 6-3 Friday for a 2-1 lead in their AL division series.
Backed by four home runs off Minnesota starter Rick Reed, Barry Zito struck out eight in six innings for the win. Ricardo Rincon pitched two scoreless innings in relief and Billy Koch closed for the save.
The shots by Durham and Hatteberg marked the first time in postseason history a team has hit back-to-back homers to start a game.
Torii Hunter had two of Minnesota’s eight hits and capped a game-tying, two-run rally in the fifth with an RBI single. The All-Star center fielder, however, also was the who let Durham’s liner skip under his glove.
Jermaine Dye’s homer in the top of the sixth made it 4-3 Oakland, and the A’s bumped their lead back to three in the seventh against Johan Santana.
Randy Velarde, pinch-hitting for Hatteberg, hit an RBI double to score Durham, and moved to third on the throw home. Velarde scored on Miguel Tejada’s sacrifice fly off Mike Jackson.
Zito (1-0) gave up five hits, three runs and four walks.
Reed (0-1) threw 100 pitches and surrendered six hits, four runs and two walks while striking out eight.