CINCINNATI, OCT. 17 -- Billy Hatcher is proving to the entire nation he deserves to play.

With the World Series as his stage, Hatcher is the starring act.

In the first two games of the Series, Hatcher is seven for seven with five extra-base hits and has been on base all nine times. Not bad for a platoon player.

He tripled in the eighth inning in Game 2 off Bob Welch and scored the tying run as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Oakland A's, 5-4, in 10 innings tonight to take a surprising 2-0 lead.

Hatcher's seven straight hits (four doubles, a triple and single) broke the mark of six by Goose Goslin in 1924 and Thurman Munson in 1976. His five extra-base hits in consecutive games matched Lou Brock's record in 1968.

"They can have the records," Hatcher said, "I just want that ring."

Hatcher platooned much of the season in center field with Herm Winningham, and that situation prevailed in the NL playoffs.

"Lou {Piniella} makes the lineup and I think I did the job when I was in there this season," said Hatcher, who hit .333 in the playoffs with a home run.

"He's doing everything you can expect a player to do," Piniella said. "He has the kind of tools to take charge and that's just what he's doing in the World Series."

Hatcher had a double in the first inning to score Barry Larkin, a double in the third, a bunt single in the fifth and a triple in the eighth.

"I've been hot before," Hatcher said. "I was 13 of 15 once."

Hatcher is finding success on a platform where so many bigger names have failed.

Once when the Brooklyn Dodgers were in a World Series, Gil Hodges was in such a slump a priest asked the folks at Sunday Mass to pray for their first baseman.

For Hatcher, his prayers have been answered.

"I'm getting the chance I wanted," Hatcher said. "I know I can do the job."

The A's know it now, too.

"It happens," Manager Tony La Russa said. "A guy gets hot and can make things happen."

Before the start of the season it looked like it wasn't going to happen for Hatcher.

He was a reserve outfielder on the Pittsburgh Pirates, hopelessly stuck behind Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke.

"I asked the Pirates to trade me," Hatcher said. "I knew I wasn't going to get the playing time there."

The Reds acquired Hatcher for for minor leaguers Mike Roesler and Jeff Richardson on April 4. In 139 games, he hit .276 with five homers and 25 Runs batted in.

"The trade turned out better than I expected," he said. "You want to play on a winner but you don't expect it."

Thanks to Hatcher, the Reds are two games away from pulling off one of the biggest upsets in World Series history.

"I think they know we can play with them now," Hatcher said. "We just have to keep coming after them."

As far as the A's are concerned, they've seen more than enough of Hatcher.