Oakland steals game 1

· Oct 11, 2001 Tweet

NEW YORK (REUTERS) ? Mark Mulder and the Oakland Athletics came of age Wednesday night, while the New York Yankees are revealing signs of aging.

Mulder, showing no nerves in his first postseason appearance, held New York to one run, and Terrence Long homered twice to lead Oakland to a 5-3 win over the World Series champions in the opener of the first-round AL series.

Jason Giambi also homered for the A’s, who beat Roger Clemens in Game 1 of a best-of-five series for the second straight year. But after losing last year in five games, the A’s know their work is not done.

Game 2 is Thursday, with Andy Pettitte (15-10) pitching for New York against Tim Hudson (18-9).

Oakland offers the stiffest first-round competition for the AL East champion Yankees during Joe Torre’s six years as manager.

After nearly ending New York’s run last season, the wildcard A’s used two elements that were missing a year ago: a healthy Mulder and Johnny Damon’s speed.

Damon, a disappointment in his first year in Oakland, showed why the A’s acquired him in the off season from Kansas City. He went 4-for-4 with a walk, two steals and a run scored.

But the biggest difference was Mulder, who missed last year’s playoffs with a bad back before bouncing back with 21 wins this season.

Mulder, 24, showed composure beyond his years, taking control early. The first two runners of the game reached for the Yankees ? on an error by second baseman Frank Menechino and a single by Derek Jeter.

Last year, the young A’s were undone by fielding blunders in their first playoff game at Yankee Stadium. But Mulder wasn’t fazed, getting Bernie Williams to hit into a double play and striking out Tino Martinez.

Mulder allowed seven hits and struck out five in six and two-thirds innings. The 6-foot-6 left-hander overpowered New York’s dangerous lefty bats. Martinez, Paul O’Neill, and David Justice went 0-for-9 against Mulder and didn’t get a ball out of the infield.

The A’s backed up manager Art Howe’s bravado with a run in the first. Howe caused a stir when he said the Yankees would have to play great “to have a shot to beat us.”

Damon singled, stole second, went to third on Miguel Tejada’s groundout and scored on Giambi’s sacrifice fly.

The run snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak for Clemens in the postseason, but helped maintain another one. Clemens, 38, lost his fourth straight playoff start against Oakland.

Long led off the fourth with a homer, and Clemens left with a tight right hamstring after walking Giambi to lead off the fifth.

Giambi and Long hit solo homers in the seventh and eighth off Sterling Hitchcock, and Tejada added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 5-1.

Martinez hit a two-run homer off Jim Mecir in the eighth to cut it to 5-3. Jason Isringhausen pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

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This article was published Oct 11, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Oct 11, 2001 at 12:00 am

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