A's snap home skid vs. Yankees thanks to Cespedes' bomb

July 20, 2012, 6:18 am
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OAKLAND -- 718 dogs may have set a World Record at the Oakland Coliseum on Thursday, but the long ball again proved to be the A's best friend, as they defeated the Yankees 4-3The A's are now four games over .500 for the first time since May 31, 2010. Also in 2010 -- April 22, 2010 to be exact -- was the last time the A's defeated the New York Yankees in Oakland, a losing streak spanning nine games. "There's a little bit more hoopla wherever the Yankees go and they swept us last time," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was important to get a win in the first game so we don't have to hear about how many in a row. They've certainly had their way with us here."At the time of that sweep, Yoenis Cespedes was on the disabled list with a strained left hand. This time, Cespedes was in the lineup, and he wasted no time making his presence known. He crushed a Freddy Garcia curveball for a two-run blast in his first at-bat, giving the A's a 2-0 lead. "Because we were playing the Yankees I wanted to be as concentrated as possible during the game," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "That's who everybody wants to beat."Cespedes' 12th home run of the season extended his hitting streak to a career-high seven games. Eight of his 12 homers have come with runners on base. It is safe to say he is a difference maker for the A's when on the field. "He's a true force in the middle of the lineup," Melvin said. "When you are going up against an offensive team like that, you like to have all your bullets, and certainly he is one of our biggest ones."If the Yankees thought they were going to extend their dominance over the A's to 10 games -- they were barking up the wrong tree. After Cespedes' home run gave them the lead, they struck for two more runs in the sixth inning. After Cespedes drew a one-out walk to load the bases, Seth Smith stroked a two-run single up the middle putting the A's up 4-0. That was all rookie starting pitcher A.J. Griffin would need. He threw 90 pitches over six innings of work to earn his second win. The 24-year-old righty scattered seven hits allowing just two runs and striking out four batters. He didn't walk a single Yankees hitter. "He knows against these guys that they are going to try to drive your pitch count up," Melvin said. "He's a command guy, very confident to throw the ball over the plate with any of his pitches and that makes him successful."After the game Griffin remarked that he was a little rattled facing guys he grew up watching like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson. He then calmed himself down, stuck to his game plan and settled into a groove. "We play a kids game, we are just trying to have fun out there and we're having more fun right now," Griffin said. "We're winning a lot of games, having a good time, we like to hear the music after the games." The A's have been hearing the music a lot lately. They are 11-2 in the month of July which is the best record in the majors in that span.

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