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Dyed in the wool
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Division Series
10/04/2002 9:31 pm ET 
Dyed in the wool
Oakland outfielder comes through in the clutch
By Jim Molony /

Jermaine Dye connects for the go-ahead homer in Friday's Game 3. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- A simple plan was what Jermaine Dye called his approach to Minnesota starter Rick Reed, but the effect was momentum-changing and possibly meant the difference between the Twins, and not the A's, facing elimination on Saturday when the two teams meet in Game Four of their American League Division Series.

"Jermaine's homer was huge, we had built a lead but they had came back and tied it up," teammate David Justice said. "There was a chance the momentum might swing back their way, but Jermaine's homer took care of that."

Dye had struck out each of the first two times he faced Reed and appeared to be headed for the hat trick when the Minnesota right-hander quickly went ahead 0-2 with the game tied at three as Dye led off the sixth inning. The Twins had scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game and the crowd of 55,932 -- the largest crowd in Twins history -- was starting to turn up the volume.

"Reed likes to get you with pitches off the plate and he doesn't walk a lot of batters," Dye said. "My plan was to try to get him to make a mistake with a fastball in. The first two times he didn't make a mistake, he got me with sinkers away."

This time Reed threw a fastball inside but Dye was ready. He rocketed the pitch down the left-field line into the seats to give Oakland a lead it would never relinquish and chase Reed from the ballgame. The A's went on to win 6-3 to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series.

"He came inside and I was able to drop the barrel of the bat down and get around on the ball and hit it out of the park," Dye said.

Back to Dye finished 1-for-4 and is hitting .308 for the series. He has eight total bases, third on the team in the series behind Ray Durham (10) and Scott Hatteberg (9). Dye and Justice (.286) have helped protect Eric Chavez (.385) in the lineup and minimized the impact of Miguel Tejada's poor series. Tejada is hitting .154 with one extra-base hit and two RBIs.

Dye's heroics meant the A's need only win either Saturday or Sunday to advance to the ALCS, a much better scenario than Dye faced this time a year ago. He fractured his leg after fouling a pitch from New York's Orlando Hernandez during the ALDS last year. Dye's season ended Oct. 14 and the A's were eliminated by the Yankees in Game 5.

"We're in a good position but we still have to win one more and we can't let up against that team, they've shown time and time again they know how to come back," Dye said. "It's nice to be one game away (from winning the series) but we're not there yet.

True, but they are one huge step closer, and Dye's simple plan played a significant part.

Jim Molony is a writer for He can be reached at This article was not sujbect to approval by Major League Baseball.

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