OAKLAND, Calif. -- Throughout the Oakland Athletics' latest June run, some surprising names have played key roles in keeping the A's on a roll.
That deep bench general manager Billy Beane built last winter is showing it is every bit as reliable as the A's thought -- and Oakland is getting the stellar starting pitching that has defined this organization for years, too.
Joe Blanton pitched into the ninth and Kielty hit a two-run triple to help the A's sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-2 win Sunday for their season-best 10th straight victory.
"I've never been part of 10 in a row in baseball or 10 in a row period," Kielty said. "We're playing well right now. It seems like the month of June is the month the A's get hot, and we're running with it again now."
The A's looked surprisingly lively in establishing the best winning streak in the majors this year considering these teams played 17 innings Saturday night -- with Oakland winning 5-4 in 5 hours, 2 minutes.
Payton had an RBI double and Marco Scutaro had three hits, an RBI and stole his first base of the year as the A's topped the nine-game winning streaks San Diego and Philadelphia produced this season.
This marks Oakland's longest winning streak since the A's also won 10 in a row from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2, 2003.
The A's improved to 14-2 in June following a 12-17 May. In May last year, Oakland went 7-20 with two eight-game losing streaks before getting things going in June.
Blanton (7-6) won back-to-back starts for the first time since April 24 and 30. He allowed nine hits, struck out three and walked one in an impressive 96-pitch performance before closer Huston Street got the final three outs for his 17th save in 21 chances. Street blew his fourth save Saturday night.
Street got pinch-hitter Jeff Kent to line out to end it, with fans chanting "Street! Street!"
"They pitched well and they're playing well," Drew said. "There were a lot of first-pitch strikes."
Nomar Garciaparra hit a solo home run in the sixth for the Dodgers, the first homer Blanton had given up at home this season -- a span of 44 innings. Ramon Martinez also drove in a run for Los Angeles with a fifth-inning single that snapped Blanton's home scoreless innings streak at 21.
Blanton stuck around for all 17 innings Saturday night, then worked quickly Sunday.
"I tried to make it as quick as possible," he said.
Aaron Sele (3-2) saw his winless stretch reach four starts as he lost his second straight outing. Sele gave way to Odalis Perez after only four innings, and Perez pitched a season-high four innings of relief.
"Aaron had trouble getting the ball down all day and he ended up paying for it," Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Sele plunked A's No. 9 hitter Mike Rouse in the fourth after Blanton hit Garciaparra in the top half of the inning. The right-hander allowed five runs and seven hits, walked three and didn't have a strikeout for the second straight start.
Oakland's Eric Chavez, nursing pain in his hamstring where it attaches to the buttocks, was given the choice to take the day off but he opted to play designated hitter and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
A's catcher Jason Kendall told manager Ken Macha he wanted to play -- even after working all 17 innings Saturday night.
"He doesn't ever want out of the game," Macha said.
Oakland's Dan Johnson went 0-for-2 with two walks to have his career-high tying 10-game hitting streak snapped.
Sandy Alomar Jr. started at catcher on his 40th birthday in place of Russell Martin for the Dodgers, who concluded a nine-game road trip by losing for the fifth time in six games.
Oakland finished an unbeaten homestand of six or more games for the first time since Aug. 23-29, 2004, when the A's went 7-0 against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
|Bobby Kielty hits a two-run triple in the fourth inning, leading the A's over the Dodgers. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.249|
|Willy Aybar, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.274|
|Nomar Garciaparra, 1B||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.355|
|J.D. Drew, DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.280|
|Matt Kemp, CF||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.339|
|Andre Ethier, LF||4||0||2||0||0||2||3||.297|
|Jose Cruz Jr., RF||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||.230|
|a- Kenny Lofton, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.314|
|Sandy Alomar Jr., C||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.358|
|b- Jeff Kent, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.268|
|Ramon Martinez, 2B||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.345|
|a-flied out for Cruz in the 9th|
|b-lined out for S. Alomar in the 9th|
|HR - Nomar Garciaparra (8, Blanton)|
|RBI - Nomar Garciaparra (42), Ramon Martinez (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ramon Martinez (5)|
|SB - Matt Kemp (4, 2nd base off Blanton/Kendall)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Andre Ethier 1|
|DP - Garciaparra, Aybar-Martinez-Garciaparra, Garciaparra-Furcal, Aybar-Martinez-Garciaparra|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Aaron Sele (L,3-2)||4||7||5||5||3||0||0||3.09|
|HBP - Rouse (by Aaron Sele)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Sele 62-34, Odalis Perez 58-43|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Sele 3-6, Odalis Perez 5-1|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Sele 20, Odalis Perez 15|
|Jason Kendall, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.261|
|Nick Swisher, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.286|
|Eric Chavez, DH||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.264|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.254|
|Jay Payton, CF||4||1||3||1||0||0||2||.277|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||2||1||0||0||2||0||0||.247|
|Marco Scutaro, 3B||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.221|
|Bobby Kielty, RF||4||1||1||2||0||1||3||.278|
|Mike Rouse, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.385|
|2B - Jay Payton (14, Sele)|
|3B - Bobby Kielty (1, Sele)|
|RBI - Jason Kendall (22), Jay Payton (17), Marco Scutaro (12), Bobby Kielty 2 (12)|
|SB - Marco Scutaro (1, 2nd base off O. Perez/S. Alomar)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Bobby Kielty 1|
|DP - Kielty-Crosby, Scutaro-Johnson, Johnson-Crosby|
|Joe Blanton (W,7-6)||8||9||2||2||1||3||1||4.79|
|Huston Street (S,17)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.26|
|HBP - Garciaparra (by Joe Blanton)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 93-64, Huston Street 12-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 15-3|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 32, Huston Street 3|
|Attendance - 35077|
|Game Time - 2:16|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Tom Hallion|