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A-Rod, Yanks drop A's to go 12-0 in day games

NEW YORK (AP) -- Even without Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield,
the New York Yankees have plenty of power.

They're getting some pretty good pitching these days, too.

Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, Derek Jeter also connected
and New York got a useful start from Jaret Wright in a 4-3 victory
over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

"We know we have enough in the tank," Rodriguez said. "They
said we can score 1,000 runs with those guys, and now we probably
can score 890 -- but that's still enough to win a lot of games."

Wright (1-2) held Oakland's slumping lineup in check into the
sixth inning, helping the Yankees improve to 12-0 in day games. He
got strong relief work from Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth, who
worked around Jeter's ninth-inning error to earn his first save
with New York.

"Proctor has been incredible," Rodriguez said. "I've never
seen a guy improve so much in one year."

The A's have lost four straight, matching a season high, and
seven of 10. They did get catcher Jason Kendall (suspension) and
slugger Eric Chavez (bacterial infection) back after both missed
the previous four games.

Kendall had an RBI single. Chavez went 0-for-5 with three
strikeouts, stranding six runners.

"I feel fine for a normal human being. But for a ballplayer, it
isn't good enough," Chavez said. "I don't think I'm going to play
tomorrow. I want to help this team and I don't think I can do that
right now. I want to take a couple of days to regenerate and aim
for maybe Tuesday.

"My bat speed was really slow. I said I'd give it a try today
and it didn't work out," he added. "I really didn't feel in the
groove of the game."

Oakland DH Frank Thomas (strained right quadriceps) sat out for
the second consecutive game, but manager Ken Macha said he might be
able to play Sunday.

Making his third start for the A's in place of injured Rich
Harden, Brad Halsey (1-2) gave up four runs, five hits and four
walks in 4 1-3 innings.

Halsey came up with the Yankees in 2004 and was traded to
Arizona before last season as part of the deal that brought Randy
Johnson to New York.

The left-hander fell to 0-3 with an 8.71 ERA in five career
starts at Yankee Stadium.

"They're just another team in the American League. A good one,
but just another team," Halsey said. "They made me work, work
hard, get my pitch count up, and that's why it was such a very
short day. It wasn't good."

Pitching for the first time in 10 days, Wright lasted 5 1-3
innings for his first win in seven starts (eight appearances) since
Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay.

"It's not ideal, but you do your job. You do the best you can
staying ready," Wright said.

Yankees starters are 13-2 with a 3.19 ERA in the last 18 games.
Chien-Ming Wang threw eight outstanding innings of three-hit ball
Friday night in a 2-0 victory over Oakland's Barry Zito.

New York has won 10 of 13 to move into sole possession of first
place in the AL East for the first time this season.

Wright got a nice hand from the crowd of 53,907 as he walked off
the mound. Proctor threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings to set up
Farnsworth, who worked the ninth because star closer Mariano Rivera
pitched the previous three nights.

An error by Jeter at shortstop led to Jay Payton's two-out RBI
single, cutting it to 4-3. But Farnsworth retired Dan Johnson on a
grounder with two on to end it.

"We snuck away," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Rodriguez hit a long drive in the first that landed in New
York's bullpen and bounced up into the rarely reached left-center
bleachers. It was his second homer in two days and third in four
games.

Jeter connected leading off the third to make it 4-0.

"We lost two home run hitters, but we've hit four home runs in
two days," Torre said. "So I can't figure it out."

Dan Johnson's sixth-inning single put runners at the corners and
chased Wright. It also snapped Oakland's 5-for-54 (.093) skid with
runners in scoring position over the past eight games.

Kendall followed with a run-scoring single off Tanyon Sturtze,
ending a 32-inning scoreless streak for the A's at Yankee Stadium
dating to last season.

"Good thing I didn't know that," Macha said. "I might have
bunted in the first inning or tried to steal bases or something."

Mark Ellis' two-out RBI double cut it to 4-2. But Proctor struck
out Nick Swisher on three pitches, stranding runners at second and
third.

Proctor also retired Ellis on a foul popup with two on to end
the eighth. The A's stranded 13 runners.

"None of us come here to be mop-up guys," Proctor said. "We
always hope to be in a key role to help the team."

Game notes
Sturtze was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the
game because of soreness in his pitching shoulder. The Yankees
purchased the contract of RHP Scott Erickson from Triple-A
Columbus. ... Oakland put All-Star reliever Justin Duchscherer on
the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Chad Gaudin from Triple-A
Sacramento. Gaudin relieved Halsey and pitched 2 2-3 scoreless
innings.