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Jeter ends slump; Yanks sweep Oakland's Big 3

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Jeter ends slump; Yanks sweep Oakland's Big 3

Postby WebHamster » Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:00 am

Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Derek Jeter broke out of a prolonged slump with a leadoff homer and Miguel Cairo blasted a three-run shot to snap a sixth-inning tie, as the New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Oakland Athletics with a 7-5 victory.

Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams also homered for the Yankees, who bounced back after being swept by Boston to even their record at 11-11 on the season. Kevin Brown (4-0), with strong bullpen help, remained unbeaten with six-plus solid innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.

Eric Chavez homered and Jermaine Dye drove in two runs for Oakland, which has lost six straight and eight of its last 10.

The Yankees finished off their first three-game sweep of Oakland since April 27-29, 2001, when they won all three games with the Athletics' big three starters on the mound. They turned the trick again this week.

After rallying with six runs against the Oakland bullpen to deny Tim Hudson a win in the opener and beating Mark Mulder on Wednesday, Barry Zito tried unsuccessfully to stop the Athletics' skid.

Zito (2-3) was roughed up for six runs on eight hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out nine, but was tagged for a career-high four home runs. The lefthander had never allowed more than two homers in a game.

"They didn't miss any mistakes. You usually get away with a couple," said Zito. "Fastballs were kind of up."

The Yankees snapped a 3-3 tie with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the sixth. Gary Sheffield led off with a base hit and Hideki Matsui singled into right field with one out to put runners on the corners. After Ruben Sierra looked at a third strike, Cairo drilled a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence for his first homer as a Yankee.

Oakland chipped away with a run in the seventh and another in the eighth.

Erubiel Durazo led off the seventh with a single and raced to third on a double by Bobby Crosby. Paul Quantrill took over for Brown and got Damian Miller on a groundout to second, scoring Durazo, but the Yankee righthander then struck out the next two batters to keep it a 6-4 game.

Billy McMillon led off the Oakland eighth with a double down the right field line and Gabe White got Chavez on a grounder to short. Tom Gordon was next on the hill and Dye greeted him with a bloop single to score McMillon for a one- run game.

Scott Hatteberg flied out and Durazo singled, prompting the arrival of Mariano Rivera, who got Crosby on a grounder for the third out of the inning.

New York tacked on a run in the eighth when Jorge Posada doubled with one out, took third on grounder by Matsui and scored on an infield single by Bubba Crosby.

Rivera then worked a perfect ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.

"You go out some days, you pitch great and lose. That's the crazy thing about this game. Other nights you can go out and give up three or four runs and win the game," Brown said. "The bullpen did a great job."

Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the first on Chavez's fifth homer of the season. Mark Kotsay led off with a base hit and Chavez belted a one-out pitch over the wall in right field.

Jeter then ended an 0-for-32 slump, the longest of his career, with a leadoff homer over the left-center field fence to pull the Yankees within one in the bottom of the first.

"I thought, 'don't catch it,'" Jeter quipped about his recent run of bad luck. "I thought a bird might hit it or something. I hit it pretty good. I was just happy."

Jeter was given a standing ovation by the crowd and took a curtain call.

"The crowd's been great, they've been very supportive," Jeter added.

Rodriguez's fourth homer barely cleared the wall in left-center to tie it for New York in the third and Williams hit his first homer of the season with one out in the fifth to put the Yankees in front.

The Athletics tied it in the sixth. Kotsay again started the rally with a base hit and took second when Chavez hit a tapper in front of the plate for the second out. Dye then doubled over the head of Sierra in left field to score Kotsay with the tying run.

Jeter, who finished 1-for-4, led off a game with a homer for the 12th time in his career. The slump by Jeter was the longest for a Yankee since Jimmy Wynn also went 32 at-bats without a hit in 1977.

Brown is off to his best start since a 5-0 run with Texas in 1990. Rodriguez needs one home run to become the 70th player to reach 350 in his career. He also needs three runs batted in to reach 1,000.

The Athletics have been swept only twice in 19 tries when Hudson, Mulder and Zito have started all three games in a three-game set.
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