McGwires's 361st homer ties him with DiMaggio
OAKLAND - When Mark McGwire looks at Matt Stairs, he says "I have to shake my head."
As of today, you can look at McGwire and say "Joe DiMaggio."
McGwire's first-inning home run was the 361st of his career, tying him for 42nd on baseball all-time homer list with DiMaggio, the legendary Yankee center fielder.
Tuesday, at the merciful end of a five-game losing streak, McGwire was just as happy to talk about Stairs, who has three homers in the past two games and 15 for the season.
"Where did the other clubs in baseball miss on him?" McGwire wants to know. "You just don't see a left-handed hitter hit like that any more. He can sit on the bench for three or four days, then get eight or 10 at-bats in a hurry and do some damage."
Such has been the case lately. Stairs hit two solo homers in Monday's 6-2 loss to Seattle, then came back Tuesday with a two-run homer and a single in Oakland's 8-5 win.
Stairs pumped his team-leading batting average up to .363 and now has four more homers than he had in his entire career coming into this season. Stairs hadn't been able to play much lately because of a nasty bout with the flu, but he's been more than all right the past two days.
"It's good to feel good again," he said. "I lost 13 pounds, and I'm down to 203. That's less than I've weighed all year."
Of course, McGwire had something to do with the slump-snapping win, too. The first baseman homered in the first inning, his major league-leading 32nd. He added a run-scoring grounder in the third and came up in the eighth inning with Oakland clinging to a one-run lead and doubled in two runs.
With runners on second and third, Mariners manager Lou Piniella could have instructed pitcher Norm Charlton to walk McGwire. But Piniella opted against that, "because they had (Jose) Canseco ready to pinch-hit with the bases loaded."
"When I saw the first pitch. I could see he (Charlton) was going to go at me," McGwire said. "I don't see that that often. I just had to be aggressive."
MOHLER GETS ONE: Mike Mohler was 0-8 as a starter, forcing a move to the bullpen last month.
The A's have had few opportunities to win games, and Mohler hasn't had any before Tuesday, when the club's new four-man rotation and 80-pitch limits on starting pitchers meant that Mohler came into the game with a chance to win. Mohler pitched the fifth and sixth innings without giving up a run and was credited with his first victory of the year.
"It feels good to break the longest losing streak in the major leagues," Mohler said. "It's even better for us as a team, because it ends the (five-game) losing streak. That's more important than anything."
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