Facebook Twitter



Baseball is back in the Bay area and it's like the Oakland Athletics never left.

The A's returned from an 11-day earthquake layoff stronger than ever, tying a World Series-record with five home runs, including two by Dave Henderson and even one by Jose Canseco, and routing San Francisco 13-7 Friday night for all-but-invincible 3-0 lead."The whole time off helped me. I wasn't hitting in the first two games," Henderson said. "It just helped me get my mind straight."

If pitchers are supposed to be ahead of hitters after long breaks, it didn't show. Henderson, who had been 0-for-6, also doubled as everyone with a bat seemed to benefit.

The teams combined for a series-record seven home runs and 24 hits in the highest-scoring World Series game since 1956. The Athletics got most of the homers and hits despite an abbreviated batting practice, cut short when the team bus got caught in a traffic jam, and instead saved their swings for the game.

Canseco, spurred by some fans shouting profanities at him before the game, ended his 0-for-23 World Series slump and also hit a three-run homer.

"It didn't really feel like a World Series atmosphere when we were warming up. But once the first pitch was thrown, people got back into it," Canseco said. "I don't think anyone on our side is predicting the series is over. We're not taking anything for granted."

Dave Stewart did not get a shutout, as he did in Game 1, but he didn't need to. He outpitched Scott Garrelts for the second time in this season and is now 4-0 in the postseason.

No team has ever rallied from such a deficit and the Giants show no signs of being able to do it, either. They hoped the break might stall Oakland's momentum, but instead got bashed again. The Giants trailed 13-3 before scoring four times in the bottom of the ninth.

"Maybe we were a little rusty. They looked sharper than we did," Giants manager Roger Craig said. "Right now, they're a better club."

Craig said he planned a new strategy for Game 4 Saturday when Don Robinson faces Oakland's Mike Moore.

"Play my outfielders deeper. Maybe put them on the other side of the fence," Craig said.

From the start, the crowd of 62,038 was ready for baseball and so were the A's. They stood respectfully, but anxiously, during a moment of silence at precisely 5:04 p.m. PDT - the time the earthquake struck - and a tribute to victims, rescuers and survivors.

Then it was time to play ball. And Oakland did, just like all during the delays. The Athletics, unlike the Giants, spent the break playing simulated games and even went to their spring-training site in Phoenix for a practice game against their instructional league team.

If pitchers are supposed to be ahead of hitters after a layoff, it didn't show.

Dave Henderson hit a two-run double in the first inning and he and Tony Phillips each homered in fourth - just as they had in Thursday's practice in Arizona.

Canseco and Henderson connected in the fifth and Carney Lansford's shot in the sixth made it 9-3 and gave Oakland its season high for home runs. The Athletics outhit San Francisco 14-10 and Canseco was 3-for-5.

Lansford also got three hits and tied a series record by scoring four times.

Not even the absence of designated hitter Dave Parker, who had a home run and double in the first two games, hurt Oakland. Forced to bat because the game was played in the National League park, Stewart went 0-for-3. American League pitchers are now hitless in 70 at-bats in the World Series since 1979.

The Giants, held to one run on nine hits in the first two games - the worst series start since Philadelphia did the same in 1950 - did a little better this time.

Matt Williams hit a solo homer and Terry Kennedy had a two-run single in the fourth to pull San Francisco within 4-3. Stewart then toughened and allowed just one more hit. When he left after seven innings, he had given up five hits.

When Bill Bathe hit a three-run homer in his first World Series at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, it set a record for most homers - seven - in a series game. Teams had combined for six in three previous games, the last in Game 6 of the Cincinnati-Boston series in 1975, the game that Carlton Fisk won with a 12th-inning homer.

Oakland's five homers matched the mark set by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the New York Yankees in 1928.

Oakland has outhomered the Giants 8-2 in the series. San Francisco hit 141 home runs during the regular season while the Athletics, baseball's winningest team, hit 127.

After Bathe's homer, a bank of lights in right-center went out, as well as portions of light banks in other locations around Candlestick Park. As the lights darkened, fans who had come to the park carrying flashlights, just in case, flicked them on and off.

Bathe's homer cut the A's lead to 13-6. After Candy Maldonado struck out, Donell Nixon singled and Greg Litton doubled him home.

The hitters did just fine all evening and so did the fielders. Only the Giants pitchers had trouble as the layoff did not seem to diminish the quality of play. There were three errors, all by the Giants, but also several nice plays on both sides.

There were no tremors this time, although the scoreboard did post instructions on what to do in case of an aftershock.