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Haren outpitches Unit as A's avoid Yankees sweep

NEW YORK (AP) -- Missing three big hitters, the Oakland Athletics
still knocked Randy Johnson around and gave Dan Haren plenty of
offense.

Haren pitched a six-hitter for his first complete game this
season and Oakland homered twice off an inconsistent Johnson to
beat the New York Yankees 6-1 Sunday.

"It was definitely my best game of the year. I had outstanding
command. I got into a groove and I was down in the zone for the
most part," Haren said. "Of course, doing it in Yankee Stadium
makes it that much better."

Mark Kotsay and Jay Payton connected for the A's, who avoided a
three-game sweep and snapped their four-game skid. They did it
without Eric Chavez, Frank Thomas and Milton Bradley in the lineup.

"It's hard to really replace those guys, but we've got some
depth this year that we can put some guys out there and still get
the job done," Payton said.

Haren (3-3) gave up only a second-inning homer to Jorge Posada,
winning his second consecutive start and sending the Yankees to
their first loss in 13 day games this year.

Pitching in the Bronx for the first time, the 25-year-old
right-hander struck out six and walked none in his fourth career
complete game. The other three came last season.

"He never throws the ball straight. He's not fun to face,"
Derek Jeter said.

As he walked off the field, Haren tossed the game ball to his
sister, Stephanie, who lives in New York and was sitting behind
Oakland's dugout.

The Yankees lost for only the fourth time in 14 games.

"What was most surprising to me was how aggressive they were
early in the count," Haren said. "It just kind of worked out
well."

Johnson (5-4) has struggled so much recently that the Yankees
sent him for an MRI after his previous outing to make sure he
wasn't injured. He pitched a little better this time out, but not
good enough.

"I thought he was more aggressive. He's still a little erratic
with his slider. It's a step in the right direction. We have a long
way to go yet," New York manager Joe Torre said. "I know he's not
going to be happy with it. He still thinks he can dominate a
game."

Johnson fell behind 3-0 in the first. He yielded four runs and
eight hits in six innings overall, throwing 72 of 106 pitches for
strikes.

After beginning the season with three solid starts, the
left-hander is 3-3 with a 6.89 ERA in his last six. He has lost his
last two outings, both at Yankee Stadium, after winning 12
decisions in a row at home.

"There's nobody more frustrated than me," Johnson said. "I'm
not pitching the way I'm accustomed to pitching."

Annoyed when time was called with Kotsay in the box, Johnson had
a verbal confrontation with plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the
fifth. It didn't seem to affect his pitching, though.

"I thought there was no timeout and the batter was in the
box," Johnson said. "I was halfway into my motion, and he said
the batter wasn't ready. I guess it's his job to protect the
batter."

Johnson walked his first hitter, Mark Ellis. One out later,
Kotsay pulled a low pitch just over the short porch in right for
his third home run.

Kotsay was swinging one of the pink bats used all around the big
leagues on Mother's Day to raise awareness and funds for breast
cancer research.

"First home run by a pink bat? Sweet," Kotsay said. "It is
heavier. The balance of the bat wasn't the best."

The Big Unit had gone 36 regular-season starts without giving up
a homer to a left-handed hitter since Toronto's Eric Hinske
connected on April 29, 2005.

The crowd of 52,587 began to boo Johnson, and Bobby Crosby
followed with a single before stealing second and scoring on
Payton's RBI grounder.

"I remember when he used to throw 97, 98 (mph) all game and his
slider was about 90. He's a pitcher now," Payton now.

Posada connected on an 0-2 pitch from Haren, cutting it to 3-1.
But Haren set down his next 13 batters.

Johnson also settled down, retiring 10 straight until Payton
went deep in the sixth. It was his first homer of the season and
third off Johnson.

"I'm trying to find something to build on. I need a foundation
first. I have to keep working and trying to work it out," Johnson
said. "It's disheartening because you still didn't execute enough
to win the ballgame."

Oakland's designated hitter, Antonio Perez, batted ninth and
snapped an 0-for-30 slump that dated to last season with a two-out
RBI single off Ron Villone in the eighth.

An error by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez led to an
unearned run in the ninth.

Game notes
The A's stole three bases. They began the day with five
steals all season, which had been the fewest in the majors. Texas
has six and is the only other team in single digits. ... Perez was
hitless in his first 24 at-bats this season. ... Thomas (strained
right quadriceps) missed his third straight game. Chavez (bacterial
infection) sat out for the fifth time in six games.