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Young Griffin Stymies Yankees

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OAKLAND, CA - JULY 19: A.J. Griffin #64 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the New York Yankees at O.co Coliseum on July 19, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, CA – JULY 19: A.J. Griffin #64 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the New York Yankees at O.co Coliseum on July 19, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in
the first inning and A.J. Griffin shut down one of baseball’s best
lineups for five innings as the Oakland Athletics beat the Yankees
4-3 Thursday night to snap a nine-game skid at home to New York.

Seth Smith added a two-run single in the third for the A’s, who
won for the 11th time in 13 games to move a season-best four games
over .500 at 48-44 _ the first time the club has been there since
it was 28-24 on May 31, 2010.

It was a rare dog day of summer for the Yankees, who still owned
the best record in baseball (57-35) after a night in which 718 dogs
attended the game as the A’s attempted to set a Guinness World
Record for most canines at a sporting event. They will submit their
total to Guinness.

Cespedes’ drive was Oakland’s 13th homer in the last six games.
The A’s snapped New York’s three-game winning streak and handed the
Yankees just their third defeat in 12 games.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher each had a pair of
hits for New York, which swept a three-game series here from May
25-27 and owns a 24-10 record at Oakland since 2004.

A’s All-Star closer Ryan Cook surrendered Swisher’s one-out
homer in the ninth before recovering for his 10th save in 13
chances.

Swisher’s 14th homer, against his first team, helped New York
extend its franchise-record run of 43 straight games with at least
three runs as it opened the four-game series that kicks off a
seven-game road trip in the team’s final West Coast trek.

The red-hot A’s handed Freddy Garcia (4-3) his first loss since
April 28 against Detroit. Garcia’s nine hits allowed in 5 2-3
innings matched his most of the season. He struck out six and
walked two.

The right-hander received a call from Mariners ace Felix
Hernandez earlier Thursday in anticipation of their matchup Tuesday
at Safeco Field.

“He said, `I’m going to pitch against my idol,”’ Garcia said.

Coco Crisp had three hits for an Oakland club that improved to
11-2 in July and opened a stretch with 17 straight against AL East
opponents.

Griffin (2-0) allowed two runs on four hits in six innings,
struck out four and didn’t walk a batter for the first time in his
fifth career start.

After allowing Raul Ibanez’s one-out single in the second,
Griffin retired the next 11 Yankees in order before Jeter’s leadoff
single in the sixth.

Rodriguez singled one out later and Robinson Cano followed with
a base hit to extend his career-high hitting streak to 22 games. He
also has reached base safely in 25 consecutive games since June 20.

Griffin received a mound visit from pitching coach Curt Young,
then gave up Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly and an RBI single to
Swisher.

Jeter singled leading off the game but was later out on a
strange force at third. After Rodriguez’s one-out single, left
fielder Cespedes backhanded Cano’s liner then dropped the ball,
hesitated and then overthrew third as the baserunners held.
Griffin, backing up the bag, retrieved the ball and ran to step on
third for the force on Jeter. He threw to second, but Rodriguez
made it back in time even though he had hesitated between first and
second after urging Jeter to go. A-Rod at one point threw his arms
up as if to ask what had happened.

Yankees special adviser Reggie Jackson rejoined the team and was
in uniform after he made comments critical of slugger Alex
Rodriguez and other former stars.

Jackson declined to comment as he made his way through the
clubhouse before New York took the field at the Coliseum for
batting practice.

“No. I’m here, like you, to watch the game _ watch them keep
winning,” Jackson said before heading out to the field, where he
chatted up Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson behind the batting cage.

Notes: Jeter’s sixth-inning run scored gave him 1,822, tying him
with Eddie Collins for 15th all-time. … Yankees LF Brett Gardner
will have arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome right elbow next
week to remove inflamed tissue, likely ending his season. He was
hurt diving for a ball against the Twins on April 17 and hasn’t
played since. … Injured New York reliever Joba Chamberlain
(ankle) is scheduled to pitch for a fourth time with the Gulf Coast
Yankees on Friday. … Former A’s 3B Eric Chavez received a mostly
warm welcome when he came to the plate for the first time in the
second. … Aside from canines, the game drew 23,382.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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