September 6, 2002
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Athletics have won 20 straight, yet they know they haven't won anything yet. One look at the standings reveals what manager Art Howe reminds his players: Despite their thrilling charge to the longest winning streak in 67 years, Oakland is just three ahead of Anaheim for the AL West lead.
With one poor series in the A's final 23 games, the longest winning streak in AL history could become a bittersweet memory.
"That's one of the most amazing parts of all this," left-hander Barry Zito said. "We've been the hottest team in years, and we're still one bad series away from second place."
The A's, winners of every game on their schedule since Aug. 12, open a three-game series at Minnesota tonight with a chance to make their streak the second-longest in major-league history. The Cubs of 1880 and 1935 won 21 straight; the major-league record is 26, set by the 1916 New York Giants.
The AL Central-leading Twins, who lost three tough games at the Coliseum last weekend, will break out the famed Homer Hankies at the Metrodome to boost their fans enthusiasm as they attempt to end Oakland's run.
A's right-hander Cory Lidle, the AL pitcher of the month for August, faces Brad Radke in the first game.
"These three games coming up will be the toughest we've played during the streak," said first baseman Scott Hatteberg, whose pinch-hit homer in the ninth gave Oakland a 12-11 win over Kansas City on Wednesday night. The Royals had erased an 11-0 lead. "That's a division-leading team playing at home. We'll have to get a little lucky to come out of there with all three games."