OAKLAND, CALIF. Earlier this week, Miguel Tejada proclaimed that sometime soon he would get six hits in a row.
He came close.
Tejada homered and set a career-high with five hits, and Eric Byrnes and Eric Chavez each had three-run homers as the Oakland Athletics completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, 9-2, Thursday.
Tejada has been working with a pitching machine that throws sliders, under the direction of new hitting coach Dave Hudgens, before every night game during the Athletics' current 12-game homestand.
He was hitting 4-for-35 (.114) during this home stretch before Thursday.
"I really know I can hit," said Tejada, who batted .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBIs during his 2002 AL MVP season.
"I've been working on my hitting and there are a lot of games left. It doesn't matter what happens in the past," he said. "I'm seeing the ball better. It's all about confidence."
Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez left with a bloody nose in the seventh inning after being hit by a throw when Mark Ellis stole second.
Ellis arrived ahead of the throw and Rodriguez dropped his glove as if to make the tag, but the ball hadn't arrived yet. The throw struck the shortstop in the nose. Rodriguez was tended to on the field by trainer Jamie Reed, then left the game.
"It hit me pretty square into the right nostril," a groggy Rodriguez said after the game. "It was really blurry. I remember Jamie asking me a few questions. I was in a daze."
Rodriguez told manager Buck Showalter he was OK.
"There's a little swelling and you can see the stitches (from the ball)," Showalter said. "It was bleeding pretty good. He's pretty woozy. I don't know what his recollection of it will be."
Mark Mulder (10-4) pitched seven strong innings as the A's won their sixth straight game, matching their best streak of the season. He allowed 10 hits and two runs, striking out three with no walks. Manager Ken Macha hopes Mulder will be an All-Star selection.
"I'm not even worrying about it," Mulder said. "I didn't walk anybody. I'm proud of that. I've been walking to many. I gave up a lot of hits, but that's better than walks."
The defending AL West champions have put together back-to-back sweeps for the first time this year, and they host the reigning NL champion San Francisco Giants in a three-game weekend series starting Friday.
Texas dropped to 2-14 in June and has lost 16 of 18, including 12 straight on the road. Michael Young, Kevin Mench and Mark Teixeira all had two hits for the Rangers.
Tejada, who had four hits in a game seven times in his career, went 5-for-5 with a home run and a double.
Tejada hit a solo shot in the third for a 1-0 lead, his 12th homer of the year. His double in the eighth was the first of five straight A's hits as they added four more runs against Erasmo Ramirez, including Chavez's shot. Ramon Hernandez went 3-for-5 after striking out in his first two at-bats.
Byrnes drove a 3-2 pitch from Mario Ramos (0-1) into the left-field bleachers in the fourth for his ninth homer of the year.
Angels 2, Mariners 0
Seattle -- Ramon Ortiz worked into the eighth inning for his fourth straight win, outpitching Jamie Moyer as Anaheim beat Seattle. Eric Owens hit a solo home run and Shawn Wooten scored on a sacrifice fly by Benji Gil as the Angels averted a four-game sweep. Aside from working into a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, Ortiz (8-5) was outstanding. In 7 2/3 innings, he allowed six hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Brendan Donnelly struck out John Olerud to end the eighth, and Troy Percival fanned two in a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 tries.
Red Sox 4, White Sox 3 (10)
Chicago -- Johnny Damon lined an RBI single in the 10th as Boston, held to one hit through nine innings, beat Chicago. Bill Mueller opened the 10th with a single off closer Billy Koch (2-3) -- Boston's first hit and second baserunner since the first inning. Koch then walked Damian Jackson, and Jason Varitek's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to set up Damon's go-ahead single. Brandon Lyon (3-3) pitched the final two innings for the win.
Blue Jays 6, Orioles 1
Baltimore -- Vernon Wells homered twice and drove in three runs, and Kelvim Escobar pitched six innings of four-hit ball as Toronto defeated Baltimore. Josh Phelps also homered for the Blue Jays, who outscored the Orioles 12-3 in sweeping the rain-shortened two-game series. Toronto has won eight of nine to move 10 games over .500 (41-31) for the first time since Sept. 23, 2000. Wells hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the fifth, both off Rick Helling (4-5). Escobar (5-3) allowed one run, struck out six and walked two to earn his 50th career victory.
Indians 10, Tigers 3
Detroit -- Jody Gerut drove in three runs and Milton Bradley and Casey Blake homered as Cleveland routed Detroit. The win gave the Indians their first road sweep since they won three in Toronto from May 24-26, 2002. Detroit has not won a home series this season, and has lost 12 of its last 13 games. In fact, the Indians have won five games at Comerica Park this season while the Tigers have only won six. Brian Anderson (4-6) earned the easy win.