POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 20, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif. » A.J. Griffin glanced into the visiting dugout and saw Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira among others. Oakland's rookie right-hander felt some nerves.
Then, Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give him a quick lead and Griffin shut down one of baseball's best lineups for five innings as the Athletics beat the Yankees 4-3 Thursday night to snap a nine-game skid at home to New York.
"It's fun. I didn't have a choice of who I pitched against," he said. "We're having a lot of fun right now. I like to hear the music after games."
Through the noise, he turned to Sean Doolittle and said, "Hey, we just beat the Yankees!"
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.
Nick Swisher's 14th homer helped New York extend its franchise-record run of 43 straight games with at least three runs.
Max Scherzer struck out nine and got plenty of run support as Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila homered to lead host Detroit, which has won 10 of its past 12 games while Los Angeles has lost eight of 13.
Waipahu High alum Jerome Williams (6-7) allowed five runs and nine hits over six-plus innings. Williams has lost five straight starts for the first time in his career.
David Price (13-4) became the AL's first 13-game winner, B.J. Upton had three RBIs, and host Tampa Bay beat Cleveland.
Mark Reynolds' two-run single in the eighth inning backed a strong performance from Wei-Yin Chen (8-5) and rallied visiting Baltimore past Minnesota.
Felix Hernandez (8-5) won his fourth straight decision and Jesus Montero homered and drove in four runs to lead visiting Seattle over Kansas City.