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Athletics put a halt to New York's win streak

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Athletics put a halt to New York's win streak

Postby WebHamster » Fri May 07, 2004 3:00 am

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Mark Kotsay drove in four runs and Erubiel Durazo went 3-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored, as the Oakland Athletics rallied for a 7-4 victory over the New York Yankees to salvage the finale of a three-game series at the Coliseum.

The Yankees opened a 4-0 lead in the second inning, but couldn't hold it and had an eight-game winning streak stopped.

The Athletics, who blew late leads in dropping the first two games of the series, snapped a three-game losing streak. Oakland, which beat New York for the first time in six meetings this season, is just 3-9 in its last 12 games.

"Hopefully, we'll get a little momentum from this," said Athletics manager Ken Macha. "We've been playing hard but we've had some major disappointments because we've had some leads but have given them up."

Rich Harden (1-2) won for the first time in five outings this season. He bounced back from a rocky start and finished allowing four runs on six hits in a career-high 7 2/3 innings. The righthander walked five and struck out nine.

"The first couple of innings I didn't really get started," Harden said. "In the second they were sitting on my fastball. I just had to slow things down and mix up my pitches better."

New York starter Javier Vazquez (3-3) had control problems all night and was charged with seven runs on six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. He had walked just six in his first 35 1/3 innings this season.

"He lost his release point," said Yankees manager Joe Torre. "He usually has pretty good command. It just didn't look like he could spot the ball where he wanted to."

The game was tied at 4-4 heading to the bottom of the sixth and a struggling Vazquez retired the first two batters of the inning before running into trouble.

Durazo and Bobby Crosby singled and each advanced a base on a wild pitch. Damian Miller drew a walk to load the bases and pinch-hitter Billy McMillon also walked to force in the go-ahead run. Kotsay then singled on a 1-2 pitch from Gabe White to knock in two more for a 7-4 advantage.

The Yankees threatened in the eighth when Harden walked two batters with two outs. Ricardo Rincon came on and struck out Tony Clark on a 3-2 pitch to keep Oakland in front by three.

Jim Mecir, with closer Arthur Rhodes not available after Wednesday's ninth- inning meltdown, set down the Yankees in order in the ninth for his first save.

Harden had his own control problems early, but was able to minimize the damage.

The Yankees loaded the bases on three walks in the first inning, but Harden was able to pitch out of it with a strikeout and a grounder.

Harden got the ball over the plate in the second and the Yankees hit him hard, scoring all four of their runs.

Bernie Williams led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Clark. Enrique Wilson then singled in a run and Kenny Lofton tripled to the gap in right-center to score two more. Derek Jeter then singled home Lofton for a 4-0 cushion.

Again, though, Harden settled down. He struck out Alex Rodriguez, got Gary Sheffield on a pop up and caught Jorge Posada looking at a third strike to end the inning.

"They came out in the first inning and made Rich throw strikes," Macha said. "They were very patient and then they turned around in the second inning and were first-pitch whacking him and there we are down 4-0 after a couple tough losses. It shows the character of these guys to battle back."

The Athletics, who went down in order in the first, answered with three in the second.

Jermaine Dye and Scott Hatteberg started the inning with singles and Durazo drew a walk to load the bases. After Crosby fouled out, Miller walked on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run. Marco Scutaro flied to shallow center for the second out, but Kotsay came through with a two-strike single to score two more runs. Eric Byrnes grounded out to end the inning.

Durazo tied it leading off the fourth with his fifth homer of the season. He has a seven-game hitting streak.

Kotsay finished 3-for-5.

The Yankees have still not swept a series in Oakland since May 31 - June 2, 1996.
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