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A's promise more celebrations

Wire services
Published September 25, 2003

OAKLAND, Calif. - The Athletics are tired of being branded the team that makes the playoffs but never makes it out of the first round.

Pitcher Tim Hudson and his teammates think this season is different.

The A's have said all season they have the talent to reach the World Series, and they took the first step Tuesday night by clinching their second straight AL West title with a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Texas Rangers.

The division was wrapped up about 20 minutes later when second-place Seattle lost 2-1 in 11 innings at Anaheim and the champagne immediately started to flow.

"I hope you guys are ready for us to do something we haven't done the last couple years, and that's win a championship," Hudson said. "Maybe this is the year we stumble to the finish line and win it all."

Adam Melhuse singled past shortstop Alex Rodriguez to drive in the winner for Oakland, in the postseason for the fourth straight year.

The A's, who have lost in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons, trailed Seattle by as many as eight games.

Oakland players charged onto the field to surround Melhuse, a late-inning defensive replacement, then stuck around to watch the end of Seattle's game. Anaheim's Tim Salmon got the second-biggest ovation of the night after Melhuse when he homered in the 11th.

Most of the crowd of 23,211 stayed to watch the Seattle game on the outfield video screens. They got to watch the A's celebrate in the clubhouse from their seats. Many players came out to salute the crowd, doing a victory lap and high-fiving fans.

"We're going do this a couple more times," first-year manager Ken Macha told the crowd.

Jermaine Dye drove in the tying run for Oakland with a double to the gap in right-center in the ninth after Todd Greene's homer off closer Keith Foulke in the top half put Texas ahead 3-2.

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