Final in 11

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 8/4)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 3
NY Yankees4
Game 2: Wednesday, August 4
in 11
NY Yankees8
Game 3: Thursday, August 5
NY Yankees5

Athletics 6

(60-46, 24-31 away)

Yankees 8

(67-39, 39-14 home)

7:05 PM ET, August 4, 2004

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

1234567891011 R H E
OAK 01031010000 6 12 1
NYY 02010100202 8 15 0

W: M. Rivera (3-1)

L: J. Duchscherer (4-3)

A-Rod wins it after Sheffield ties it

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees found the perfect way to make Esteban Loaiza feel right at home: They pulled off one of their signature comebacks.

Gary Sheffield hit a tying homer in the ninth, and Alex Rodriguez's two-run shot in the 11th gave New York an 8-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Alex Rodriguez's walk-off homer, his 29th of the season, made a winner of Mariano Rivera, who threw 51 pitches.

Eric Byrnes hit a three-run drive for one of three homers by the A's, who tagged Loaiza for five runs in his Yankees debut. But New York rallied against the Athletics' bullpen, sending Oakland to only its second loss in 11 games.

"I always used to see it on TV, now I'm here and I'm part of it," said Loaiza, who stuck around in the dugout to see the late-inning excitement up close.

With the Yankees trailing 6-4 in the ninth, Derek Jeter blooped a one-out single to right off closer Octavio Dotel. Sheffield then sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence to tie it, bringing a huge roar from the crowd of 47,885.

It was Dotel's third blown save in 11 chances with the A's since he was acquired from Houston.

"Today he got me," Dotel said. "Today I was trying to throw a slider backdoor, something different to see if I could get him out, but he's a good hitter."

After Mariano Rivera threw 51 pitches in two scoreless innings, Sheffield singled with one out in the 11th off Justin Duchscherer (4-3). Rodriguez, playing with a sore leg, followed with a high drive over the left-field fence, giving him the AL lead with 29 home runs.

Rodriguez raised his right arm as he rounded first, then was greeted by his teammates at home plate in a matter-of-fact celebration, Yankee-style.

"There is something magic about this park. I think the Red Sox will tell you that," Byrnes said.

It was New York's major league-leading 42nd comeback victory, surpassing its total from last season.

"Against a club that's the hottest in baseball, it's huge," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Rivera (3-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 10th with some help from new first baseman John Olerud, who made a nifty pickup and forced a runner at the plate for the second out. Mark Kotsay then flied to center.

Olerud hit a two-run single off Rich Harden in his first at-bat with the Yankees and finished 2-for-5. Hideki Matsui also homered for New York, which will try to win this three-game series between AL division leaders when sinkerballer Kevin Brown faces Oakland curveballer Barry Zito in an enticing Thursday matinee.

"We were tired. We've got to come back out there in about nine hours, 10 hours, so we wanted to win this," Rodriguez said. "There's a lot of fight in this team."

Jermaine Dye and Eric Chavez also connected for the A's, who had won three straight.

A 21-game winner and runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award last season, Loaiza was acquired from the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Jose Contreras and $3 million just before baseball's trade deadline Saturday.

Loaiza is supposed to help solidify the Yankees' inconsistent rotation, but he struggled with his control Wednesday. Three of the four he walked scored, and he set up another run by hitting a batter with a pitch.

Making his second attempt at career win No. 100, the right-hander gave up five runs and six hits in six innings, striking out six.

"I wanted to win -- bad," Loaiza said. "I've just got to wait for my next start."

Dye hit his 18th homer leading off the second, his first RBI in 13 games.

Olerud put the Yankees ahead 2-1 with a two-run single in the bottom half. Released by Seattle on July 23, the former AL batting champion was signed to fill in at first base while Jason Giambi is sidelined with a benign tumor.

"Getting that first hit out of the way definitely helps you relax," Olerud said. "I felt all right out there, I felt comfortable, a little nervous."

Loaiza froze some hitters with his tricky cut fastball, but got in trouble with two walks in the fourth. Byrnes, the reigning AL player of the week, then homered to center for a 4-2 lead.

Byrnes was just a home run shy of the cycle Tuesday night. He has 20 RBI in his last 12 games.

Kenny Lofton's sacrifice fly cut it to 4-3 in the bottom half, but the slow-footed Olerud was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.

After Mark McLemore drew a leadoff walk and Dye was hit by Loaiza's 0-2 pitch in the fifth, Oakland scored on Erubiel Durazo's two-out RBI single.

Matsui hit his 20th homer leading off the sixth to make it 5-4, but Chavez connected for his 20th against Paul Quantrill to open the seventh.

Game notes

Harden allowed four runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings and was in line for his second win against the Yankees this season until Dotel blew it. Harden hasn't lost in eight starts since June 21 at Anaheim. ... Yankees 2B Enrique Wilson bruised his left shoulder while making a diving play and might miss a few days. ... It was Rodriguez's fourth career game-ending homer, and first since July 31, 2003, with Texas against Boston.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press