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Griffin shuts down Yankees

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POSTED July 19, 2012 10:03 p.m.

OAKLAND (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.

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