OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Terrence Long arrived at his locker to find six 20-ounce bottles of Gatorade on his clubhouse chair—and he promised to drink them all.
“Somebody’s playing a joke,” the Oakland outfielder said. “I guess they’re telling me I need that.”
The defending AL West champion A’s took two of three games last week at Yankee Stadium and have won 11 of 14 to improve to a season-best nine games over .500.
Luckily, whoever left the sports drinks for Long chose his favorite flavor, Lemon Lime. He had never hit an inside-the-park homer in his life.
“I’m going to drink them, all six,” he said. “I was tired. I gave out halfway from third to home. Somebody got on my back and I don’t know who it was.”
Oakland spoiled a solid outing by Yankees starter Jeff Weaver (2-2), who allowed two runs in seven innings before falling apart in the eighth.
“They just outlasted us,” Weaver said. “Hudson threw a heck of a game. I didn’t get the job done tonight. I felt good all eight innings. I just couldn’t get that third out.”
Mark Ellis led off the eighth with a single and went to second on Scott Hatteberg’s sacrifice bunt. Hatteberg had to be reminded by Eric Chavez on the bunt sign because the A’s do it so rarely; it was just their sixth of the year.
Long, who jogged out of the batter’s box, turned it on after the ball got by Williams and easily beat the relay home.
“I had to take a gamble,” Williams said. “I can’t let that ball fall in front of me with two outs.”
Hudson (3-1) allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings to beat the Yankees for the first time in six regular season starts. He’d had three straight no-decisions, with his last win was April 16 against the Mariners.
“It’s been a while. I waited three weeks for one,” Hudson said. “I was definitely ready to get a decision, win or loss. The way it was going, I would have taken the loss.”
The Yankees will face all three this weekend, including a showdown between the last two AL Cy Young winners when 2002 winner Zito takes on Roger Clemens on Saturday. Zito beat Clemens 2-0 last Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s going to be a joy to watch,” Hudson said. “I’m glad I got a win so I can enjoy it a little more. If I was stuck at 2-1 right now it wouldn’t be too fun for me.”
Jason Giambi, who’s battling a sore left knee and staph infections in both eyes, hit a towering, two-run homer in the fourth off Hudson that landed above the scoreboard in left field and tied the game at 2.
The slugger didn’t seem distracted by his ailments or the unfriendly welcome from the Coliseum crowd of 40,317 that used to root for him. Giambi was booed before batting practice even began and then every time he stepped into the batter’s box. He returned to Oakland for the second time since signing a $120 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees after the 2001 season.
Giambi’s homer also scored Nick Johnson, who had walked. Johnson has been playing first base and Giambi relegated to the designated hitter role until he gets healthy.
“I ended up getting a pitch to hit from Huddy I could handle and other than that he threw a beautiful game,” Giambi said. “That one inning got away from us. I love hitting at this stadium. I spent a lot of time here.”
Hideki Matsui had two infield singles to extend his hitting streak to 10 games but the Yankees couldn’t generate near the offense they had in a 16-5 win in Seattle on Thursday.
Eric Byrnes, the A’s sparkplug lately as an outfield fill-in with Jermaine Dye on the disabled list, hit a run-scoring triple in the third for a 1-0 lead and then scored on Chris Singleton’s groundout.
Weaver allowed six runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings.
Demoted Yankees RHP Jose Contreras pitched five innings for Triple-A Columbus, facing 19 batters. He threw 62 pitches, 45 for strikes. … The Yankees’ starting rotation has gone unchanged for 35 games, the longest streak in team history and most since New York went 25 games with the same starting pitchers in 1988, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The A’s have lost the season series to the Yankees in six of the last seven seasons. … Long’s homer was the first inside-the-park homer for the A’s since Chavez did it against Clemens in New York on Aug. 8, 2000. … New York has hit 58 homers through the first 35 games, second in the majors behind Texas. … The A’s havehomered in nine straight games.