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Lidle pitches his way into A’s rotation

SHARE Lidle pitches his way into A’s rotation

The Oakland Athletics already have clinched a playoff slot. Now, Cory Lidle has locked up a spot in their postseason rotation.

Lidle pitched the first complete game of his career and the Athletics beat the Anaheim Angels 6-2 Thursday for their 15th straight home victory.

Lidle, a throw-in from Tampa Bay when the A's got Johnny Damon in a three-team trade in the offseason, won his fourth straight decision and improved to 11-2 since July 4.

Manager Art Howe originally was inclined to go with a three-man rotation — using Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito — when the wild card A's begin the best-of-5 opening round.

But after watching Lidle (12-6) pitch a five-hitter, Howe said he'd changed his mind.

"If we go four games, he's going to get the ball," Howe said. "He's earned that right."

Lidle, 29, has never pitched in the postseason.

"I don't want to say anything or get too excited," he said. "There's still a lot of time. Things could change. But I think I've pitched well enough to deserve it."

In other AL games, Baltimore beat Boston 4-2, Chicago defeated Minnesota 9-3, Tampa Bay topped Toronto 5-1 and Kansas City held off Detroit 8-7.

The Athletics extended the majors' longest home winning streak since Cleveland took 18 in a row in 1994, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jason Giambi — a high school teammate of Lidle's — homered, doubled and singled as Oakland won its seventh straight overall. Anaheim lost its sixth in a row.

Oakland outscored Seattle and Anaheim 41-13 while completing a 6-0 homestand. The A's have won 22 of 24, and are 51-15 since the All-Star break.

"That's the amazing thing about this team: Nobody has let down," Giambi said. "Everybody has still got numbers they're shooting for. We want to keep pushing these young guys not to give up this year just because we're already going to the playoffs."

ORIOLES 4, RED SOX 2: Cal Ripken scored a run in his final game at Fenway Park, and Baltimore beat Boston.

The retiring Orioles star was honored in a 15-minute pregame ceremony. He went 0-for-2, and also walked and was hit by a pitch.

As he came to the plate for the last time in the eighth, Ripken received a standing ovation and tipped his helmet. Public address announcer Ed Brickley introduced him by saying, "On his way to Cooperstown, Cal, thanks for the memories."

Ripken finished up at .297 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 118 career games at Fenway.

Playing at home for the last time this season, the Red Sox lost for the 19th time in 24 games.

WHITE SOX 9, TWINS 3: Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer and Chicago won its final home game of the season.

The White Sox tied Minnesota for second place in the AL Central. The defending champion White Sox trailed the Twins by 15 1/2 games in May.

DEVIL RAYS 5, BLUE JAYS 1: Jared Sandberg hit a three-run double in the eighth and Tampa Bay beat Toronto.

Carlos Delgado hit his 39th home run and reached 100 RBIs for the fourth straight season.

ROYALS 8, TIGERS 7: Carlos Febles hit a leadoff home run, and Carlos Beltran and Raul Ibanez also connected in the first inning as Kansas City beat visiting Detroit.

Mike MacDougal earned his first big league victory in his second major league start.