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A’s rally past Yanks in 12 innings to complete four game series sweep

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POSTED July 22, 2012 10:39 p.m.

OAKLAND  (AP) — Seth Smith hit a tying homer in the ninth inning, Coco Crisp singled home the winning run in the 12th and the surging Oakland Athletics rallied from four runs down to stun the New York Yankees 5-4 on Sunday and complete a four-game sweep.

Smith homered to center with one out in the ninth off closer Rafael Soriano to help the A’s sweep the Yankees in a four-game series at the Oakland Coliseum for the first time. The Athletics improved to 14-2 in July, the best record in the majors.

Derek Norris started the final rally with a one-out single off Derek Jeter’s glove at shortstop. Jemile Weeks followed with a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Oakland’s major league-leading 11th walk-off win.

The AL East-leading Yankees had not been swept in a four-game series since May 2003 against Toronto.

Crisp’s humpback liner to right field off Cody Eppley (0-2) scored Norris from second without a throw from Andruw Jones, who bobbled the ball as he tried to make the transfer. The A’s came streaming out of the dugout to celebrate their fifth straight victory.

Jerry Blevins (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.

Oakland is suddenly in a three-way tie with Baltimore and the Los Angeles Angels for the two American League wild-card spots. Crisp was the first A’s player to have two game-ending RBIs this season, following his sacrifice fly against Boston on July 3.

Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki hit solo home runs off Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings to outlast former teammate Bartolo Colon.

But the surprising A’s delivered another win because of a dose of late dramatics.

Smith sent his 11th home run just over the 400-foot sign in center. It was the first homer of the season allowed by Soriano, who blew his second save in 26 chances this season while filling in for injured Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees had chances to rally back.

After singles by Robinson Cano and Eric Chavez, Grant Balfour struck out Jeter looking for the final out of New York’s 10th inning.

Josh Reddick had trouble with Mark Teixeira’s fly ball in the sun in right field leading off the 12th inning. The ball glanced off Reddick’s glove for an error, and Teixeira slid in safely at second after shortstop Eric Sogard couldn’t handle the throw.

Blevins forced flyouts by Cano, Raul Ibanez and Chavez between an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez to keep the game tied.

Strong pitching carried Oakland all series — and has all month, really.

The Yankees chased Colon after he allowed eight hits and one intentional walk in 6 2-3 innings. Colon struck out five while tossing 84 pitches.

Teixeira blooped an RBI single to center for the fourth straight soft single to begin the third inning, and Rodriguez drove in a pair with a one-out double off the wall in left-center to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Curtis Granderson followed with a two-out shot in the fourth — coming on an 0-2 pitch from Colon — that landed in the seats in right field for his 26th home run.

Inge and Suzuki each hit solo home runs to left in the fifth to slice New York’s lead to 4-2. The long ball was the 10th this season for Inge and first for Suzuki, who snapped a career-long drought of 78 games.

It was the third time this year that Sabathia, who grew up about 30 miles north of Oakland in Vallejo, has allowed two home runs in a game.

The A’s picked up another run in the sixth when Inge beat out a potential double play to allow Yoenis Cespedes to score. Inge, who began the day batting .200, has 45 RBIs this season.

The four-game sweep was a far cry from New York’s first visit to Oakland in late May when the Yankees overwhelmed the A’s in a three-game sweep to extend their winning streak at the Coliseum to nine games. That was part of a nine-game overall losing streak for the A’s, who have recovered to post the second-best record in the majors behind the Yankees since June 2.

New York’s streak of 43 consecutive games with at least three runs — the longest in the majors since Cleveland’s 48-game run in 1994 — ended Friday night.

NOTES: Oakland’s opening-day starter, RHP Brandon McCarthy (strained throwing shoulder), is scheduled to toss three innings Wednesday at the team’s facility in Arizona. McCarthy hasn’t pitched since June 19. ... Oakland has Monday off before opening a three-game series at Toronto on Tuesday. The Yankees open a three-game series at Seattle on Monday.

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