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BALTIMORE HOLDS OFF OAKLAND

David Wells is sidelined with a case of gout. Scott Erickson twisted his ankle playing pepper. All of a sudden, Rick Krivda could be a key starter for the Baltimore Orioles.

Krivda, promoted from the minors last week, pitched six strong innings Monday night as a late replacement for the ailing Wells, and the Orioles held on for a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics."We needed that. He was great," teammate Brady Anderson said of Krivda, who allowed one run and four hits.

Randy Myers gave up two singles in the ninth, but got pinch-hitter George Williams on a grounder to short for his ninth save. It was his 252nd save, tying him with Dave Righetti for ninth on the career list.

Krivda (1-0), whose only previous major league appearance this season was a two-inning relief stint last Wednesday in which he allowed five hits and three runs, struck out five and was helped by three double plays. The only run he allowed scored on Brent Gates' bloop single in the third.

"I think today was more anxiousness than nervousness," said Krivda, whose ERA was 13.50 after the relief appearance and 4.50 after Monday night's performance. "I knew when I pitched in relief it was not such a good outing."

Wells was scratched from the start because the gout was causing severe swelling in his right big toe. He was expected to undergo more tests today.

Erickson hurt his left ankle before Monday's game. The severity of the injury was unclear.

The Orioles scored all four of their runs in the first off Doug Johns.

Anderson hit the game's first pitch into the right-field corner for a double, and Mike Devereaux singled. Roberto Alomar hit an RBI double and Rafael Palmeiro grounded out to first to drive in the second run.

Bobby Bonilla made it 3-0 with an RBI single to left and, after Cal Ripken doubled into the left-field corner, Bonilla scored on a wild pitch.

Rangers 7, Royals 6

Rusty Greer hit a two-run double in a three-run eighth inning as Texas rallied to beat visiting Kansas City amd won for the ninth time in 12 games.

Royals starter Kevin Appier was knocked out in the first when a liner by Greer struck him in the right kneecap. Appier left with the bases loaded and was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative. The Royals said he is not expected to miss any starts.

Brewers 6, White Sox 2

Dave Nilsson hit his first homer of the season and knuckleballer Steve Sparks (2-4) snapped out of a three-start slump.

Starting on nine days' rest, Sparks gave up two earned runs and seven hits in seven innings, leaving after Frank Thomas' leadoff homer in the eighth.