Lidle's scoreless streak reaches 31 innings

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cory Lidle has become an official one-hit wonder.

Lidle pitched his second one-hitter in just more than a month, allowing only a first-inning single Wednesday night as the scorching Oakland Athletics won their eighth straight game, 6-0 over the Cleveland Indians.

Lidle (7-9), who has thrown 31 consecutive scoreless innings,
gave up only a two-out single in the first to Ellis Burks. After walking Jim Thome, the right-hander didn't allow another runner.

"I don't know if words can describe how well he pitched,'' A's
manager Art Howe said. "He changed speeds, he threw everything for
strikes. Just a clinic on how to pitch.''

Lidle wasn't quite as impressed.

"I guess without the two guys getting on in the first, it was a pretty good game,'' he deadpanned.

Lidle, who was nearly traded before last month's deadline, matched a career high with eight strikeouts and got his second career one-hitter and shutout. He also blanked Texas on July 19.

After his walk to Thome, Lidle retired 25 straight -- 14 on grounders. He has not allowed a run in four August starts, and has been on the mound in each of Oakland's last five shutouts.

"You can't expect a guy to put zeros on the board all year,''
Howe said. "But that's what he's done.''

Terrence Long hit a three-run homer for Oakland, which remained in a virtual tie for first place in the AL West, two percentage points behind Anaheim and even with Seattle.

David Justice added a three-run triple in the sixth inning off
Ricardo Rodriguez (0-1), who made his major league debut.

The A's, who had two other eight-game winning streaks this season, have won 14 of 17.

Lidle, who last gave up a run on July 30 against Cleveland, has strengthened what is arguably baseball's best starting rotation. In addition to his scoreless innings streak, he hasn't allowed a home run in 51 1/3 innings.

The A's nearly dealt the 30-year-old starter last month. But he's still around, and things are going so well that he was asked to compare his one-hitters.

"I didn't think I would ever be doing that,'' said Lidle, who went 1-6 in his first 13 starts. "I've always been a guy who gave up a lot of hits. I'm glad they decided to keep me here and keep me in the rotation and give me a chance to turn it around.''

The Indians couldn't do anything with Lidle's assortment of off-speed pitches.

"He pretty much had us where he wanted us,'' Matt Lawton said.
"He got two strikes on us and his forkball was unhittable tonight.
That's the best I've ever seen him throw.''

Long, who has been in a lengthy slump, connected in the fifth inning off Rodriguez to make it 3-0.

Long came in batting just .121 (7-for-58) in his last 15 games, but he singled in his first at-bat before driving a 1-1 pitch into the Indians' center-field bullpen for his 12th homer.

Rodriguez was acquired by the Indians on July 28 in the trade
that sent reliever Paul Shuey to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After seeing him make four starts at Triple-A Buffalo, the
Indians' front office decided he was ready for the big leagues, and
the Dominican Republic native didn't disappoint.

Changing speeds and keeping the ball low in the strike zone, he
coasted through the first four innings, facing the minimum thanks
to inning-ending double plays in the first and third.

However, a one-out walk to Jermaine Dye and Mark Ellis' infield
single set up Long's 439-foot homer.

"He's got a good arm,'' Howe said of Rodriguez. "Early on, he was effectively wild. He was throwing so hard he had our guys chasing it.''

Justice made it 6-0 in the sixth, clearing the bases with a shot
to the warning track in left-center that rookie Coco Crisp just missed with a diving attempt.

Game notes
Mike Torrez holds Oakland's club record for consecutive scoreless innings with 38 1/3 in 1976. The A's have homered in 11 straight games and 20 of their last 21. ... The Indians have been
one-hit twice this season. Jeff Weaver, then with Detroit, did it on May 22. ... The A's have not trailed during their eight-game winning streak. ... Indians SS Omar Vizquel robbed Long of a hit with a diving stop in the seventh. ... Rodriguez's birthdate was adjusted during spring training, making him 24. ... Indians 2B Ricky Gutierrez will visit Dr. Michael Schafer, a Chicago
orthopedist, on Thursday to get a third opinion on his injured neck. Two doctors have advised Gutierrez to have surgery. ... The Indians went over 2 million in attendance for the eighth straight season.