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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.

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.