Originally created 06/13/05

Athletics crush Braves, 11-5



ATLANTA - Eric Chavez stepped up with a pep talk on the team bus Thursday after the Oakland Athletics finished another road series loss.

Chavez stepped up again Sunday, this time to make sure the Athletics won a road series.

Chavez was 5-for-5 with a pair of homers and four RBIs, helping the A's beat the Atlanta Braves 11-5 for their first road series win since the opening week of the season.

The A's brought an 11-game road losing streak to Atlanta, but Chavez hit a two-run homer as Oakland ended the drought with a 6-4 win Friday night. He added his first five-hit game Sunday.

Chavez downplayed the possible effect of his talk on the team bus after the A's lost three straight games at Washington.

"You take responsibility and hopefully they respond," he said. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Hopefully everybody does what they have to do to get prepared. I don't know what it is on the road. It just doesn't add up. I don't think we're that bad of a team."

Even with the two wins in Atlanta, the A's are 10-24 on the road, better than only Tampa Bay. The A's had not won a series on the road since taking two of three at Baltimore to open the season.

Mark Kotsay also drove in four runs for Oakland. His three-run homer in a six-run seventh inning helped the A's put away the game and send the Braves to their fifth straight series loss.

"We haven't had much success on the road," Kotsay said. "Winning any series is a positive. Let's hope it carries over."

Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer for Atlanta, giving him three homers in two days, but Chavez was the star of the weekend.

"It's good to see Chavez back," Oakland pitcher Barry Zito said. "He's the leader of this offense. When he starts hitting, it's contagious. We look to him for a spark, and he gives it to us."

Chavez gave the A's a 1-0 lead with a first-inning double. He singled in the third, hit a two-run homer in the fifth, a leadoff shot in the seventh, and added a single in the eighth for his career-best fifth hit.

"He was a tough out," Braves starter Horacio Ramirez said. "We made adjustments, pitched him away. He's a great hitter."

Zito (3-7) gave up four hits and four runs - three earned - and walked six in five innings.

Ramirez also was wild, issuing leadoff walks in each of the first three innings and a one-out pass in the fourth inning.

Ramirez gave up three runs in the fifth. Jason Kendall led off with a double and scored on Bobby Kielty's single to left. Chavez followed with his ninth homer, a two-run shot to left, for a 4-2 lead.

The Braves answered in the bottom of the fifth with Jones' two-run homer that drove in Julio Franco, who walked. Jones' 15th homer was immediately followed by a 29-minute rain delay.

Ramirez gave up five hits and four runs in five innings and didn't return after the rain delay.

Making his major league debut, Blaine Boyer, 23, gave up a leadoff single to Nick Swisher in the sixth. Boyer (0-1) walked Kendall and gave up a run-scoring double to Kotsay, giving the A's a 5-4 lead.

Boyer was called up from Double-A Mississippi as reliever Roman Colon was sent to the Double A team Sunday.

After the game, the Braves made another move, sending rookie catcher Bryan Pena to Triple-A Richmond and calling up pitcher Jorge Vazquez from Mississippi.

The A's scored six runs on five hits off Adam Bernero in the seventh, sparked by homers from Kotsay and Chavez. Marco Scutaro added a two-run single.

Andy Marte led off the eighth with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by fellow rookie Ryan Langerhans.

Notes: Chavez had the 12th multihomer game of his career.... Kotsay had Oakland's only other five-hit game this season on April 30 against Seattle.... Braves outfielders Langerhans and Jones made diving catches in the second and sixth innings, respectively. Jones' catch ended the sixth with runners on second and third.