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A's knock three homers off Big Unit, beat Yanks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Everybody is hitting Randy Johnson hard lately,
from proven sluggers such as Frank Thomas to little-known
substitutes like Antonio Perez and Mike Rouse.

Thomas hit one of Oakland's three homers off a struggling
Johnson, and the Athletics held off the New York Yankees 6-5 after
a long rain delay Friday night.

"I was fighting myself and fighting the strike zone a little
bit," Johnson said. "I didn't have much."

Bobby Kielty and Perez also connected, sending the A's to their
seventh victory in nine games. Rouse went 3-for-3 with a stolen
base and two runs in his big league debut as Oakland roughed up
Johnson with a depleted lineup missing injured infielders Eric
Chavez, Bobby Crosby and Mark Ellis.

"We've got a bunch of gamers and grinders," Athletics manager
Ken Macha said.

Dan Haren (5-5) beat The Big Unit at Yankee Stadium for the
second time in less than a month, improving to 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA
in five career starts against New York.

Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer and Derek Jeter (thumb)
returned to the lineup as the designated hitter for the Yankees,
but they dropped their second straight at home and fell out of
first place in the AL East, a half-game behind Boston.

Kiko Calero fanned two in a perfect eighth and Huston Street got
three quick outs for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Barking at plate umpire Chad Fairchild when he didn't get close
calls, a rattled Johnson (7-5) gave up six runs -- five earned -- and
six hits in four innings. He walked five, including four in a
46-pitch fourth inning that lasted more than 20 minutes, and
committed a balk.

"I think that's when I lost my focus and put a little bit of
focus on the umpire," Johnson said.

Kielty opened the inning with his first home run of the season.
Perez was 1-for-33 this year when he stepped to the plate, but he
teed off for a two-run shot to left -- his first homer since July 6
with the Dodgers at Colorado.

"He hasn't given up on his season," Macha said.

Nick Swisher added a shallow sacrifice fly to right -- Rouse
scored easily thanks to a poor throw by weak-armed Bernie Williams.

Johnson, who was 2-0 in his previous four starts since a May 14
loss to Oakland, has a 5.63 ERA. He has allowed 15 homers in 14
starts, including 10 in his last six outings.

"It just didn't look like he had any pop. For the most part, it
looked like he was forcing it," manager Joe Torre said. "I know
he expected much more of himself tonight."

Haren labored through 114 pitches in 5 2-3 innings, but he
didn't walk a batter and struck out five. The right-hander threw a
six-hitter in the Bronx for a 6-1 win over Johnson on May 14.

"It's a tough place to pitch. Both times I was fortunate to get
a few runs," Haren said. "I'm definitely not having as quick
innings as I've had earlier in the year, but as long as they're
zeros I don't care how many pitches I throw."

After three New York singles loaded the bases in the sixth, Chad
Gaudin struck out Miguel Cairo to end the threat.

Gaudin walked two in the seventh and had just been pulled for
ex-Yankee Brad Halsey when a crackling thunderstorm halted play.

The game resumed after a delay of 1 hour, 27 minutes. Giambi hit
Halsey's second pitch over the right-center fence for his 17th
homer, and Robinson Cano's two-out RBI triple cut it to 6-5. But
Halsey struck out Williams to preserve the lead.

Johnson cruised through the first inning on eight pitches, but
Thomas opened the second with his 463rd homer to pass Jose Canseco
for sole possession of 26th place on baseball's career list.

"Look at the tape. Slider is up in the zone, fastball is in the
middle of the plate -- simple as that," Yankees catcher Jorge
Posada said.

Playing second base and batting ninth, Rouse was the only
left-handed hitter in Oakland's lineup.

"Yankee Stadium, Friday night, he's a left-handed hitter and
he's facing Randy Johnson," Macha said before the game. "Welcome
to the big leagues."

But in his first plate appearance, Rouse led off the third with
a single to right. He scored on Jay Payton's two-out RBI single.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more," said Rouse, who had
never been to New York before. "It's just a great feeling. It's
hard to put words to."

Rouse became the first A's player to get three hits in his big
league debut since Ben Grieve on Sept. 3, 1997, according to the
Elias Sports Bureau.

"Pretty impressive," Macha said.

Alex Rodriguez snapped a 1-for-15 skid with a two-out RBI single
in the third, but Jeter was cut down at third on the play.

Game notes
New York LF Melky Cabrera struck out in the eighth, ending
his streak of 54 plate appearances without a whiff -- the longest
run by a Yankees rookie since Horace Clark (56) in 1965, according
to Elias. ... Perez's first hit this year was an RBI single off New
York reliever Ron Villone on May 14. ... The Yankees and Red Sox
rescheduled Wednesday's rainout. The game will be made up as part
of a day-night doubleheader on Sept. 16.