Haren handles Yankees while Johnson struggles
A bad first inning (three runs allowed) against the Oakland A's put Randy Johnson in an unhappy mood. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK -- Missing three big hitters yesterday, 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.
''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 (bacterial infection), Frank Thomas (strained right quadriceps), and Milton Bradley (sprained right knee) 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 righthander 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 well 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 lefthander 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."
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. Johnson had gone 36 regular-season starts without giving up a homer to a lefthanded hitter.
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.
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.