Bradley caps off A's display of power

Bradley caps off A's display of power

OAKLAND -- Milton Bradley was cool and calm after Saturday's game.

Even after his second home run of the season, he was relaxed.

Even after going 3-for-4 and helping the A's end a four-game skid, and bounce back to 6-6 for the season, he was stil laid back.

Even after Nick Swisher congratulated Bradley with a unique-jumping handshake after his sixth-inning home run to right field, he was still cool and calm.

Maybe Bradley was relaxed in the clubhouse because he felt like something more was helping him celebrate his 28th birthday on Saturday, April 15, the same day that Jackie Robinson started playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"It just feels good to have Jackie's spirit working through you," said Bradley, who also hit a home run on his birthday last year.

Whatever it was, Bradley had a special day, as the A's beat the Rangers, 5-4.

"It should be a good birthday for [Bradley] today," A's manager Ken Macha agreed.

Frank Thomas said the team didn't even realize that it was Bradley's birthday.

"We didn't even know it was his birthday until [it showed up on the big screen] in the third inning," Thomas said.

What made his birthday so impressive was when his home run came after Eric Chavez and Thomas had already gone back-to-back.

"The right man finished it off on his birthday," Thomas said.

When Bradley was asked about his home run, he answered the question coolly and calmly.

"I thought it would be cool if I could hit one too," Bradley said.

It was the eighth time in A's history that they had hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, with the last time coming against Kansas City on June 23, 2000.

"It's always special to see that," Thomas said. "Especially when all of them came on the first pitch."

Each home run was hit off Vicente Padilla, as he gave up all five runs on homers.

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Padilla (2-1) looked strong through the first four innings, allowing just three singles and no runs, but he gave up five combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Harden, who earned his second win of the season, pitched through several jams in seven innings of work, managing to give up just four runs on three hits and five walks.

Harden was bailed out multiple times by solid defense behind him, on an A's team that had no errors for the fourth straight game.

Second baseman Marco Scutaro, who spelled the slow-starting Mark Ellis, threw out Mark Teixeira at third base in the fourth inning after he had opened the inning with a double.

Dan Johnson followed by turning an inning-ending double play on a ball hit by Hank Blalock.

Nick Swisher also had a jumping catch against the left-field wall on a drive by Gerald Laird to end the top of the fifth inning.

Swisher, who was moved to No. 2 in the order, continued to hit well, as he slammed a two-run home run into the right-field bleachers in the fifth inning off Padilla.

Harden made one major mistake in his seven innings of work when he hung a slider against Phil Nevin. The hanging slider hung even longer as it went over the left-center-field wall for Nevin's third homer of the season.

Street got his third save of the year, as the Rangers went down in order in the ninth.

In the second inning, Nevin scored the first run of the game from third on a D'Angelo Jimenez double play.

Ryan Quinn is an associate writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.