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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – After sweeping the World Series champs out of the Coliseum, the Oakland Athletics are fairly certain their season is headed back in the right direction.
Ramon Hernandez drove in the go-ahead run with a sixth-inning double as the resurgent A's beat the New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday for a three-game sweep and their 10th victory in 14 games.
"I think we're back," said Hernandez, who caught all 31 innings of the series. "It was very important we won these three games. This should be a big turning point for us."
Oakland, which fell far behind Seattle in the AL West with a terrible start, also got some payback for New York's three-game sweep of the A's last month at Yankee Stadium. Those three losses ended Oakland's miserable April, and the A's are 10-5 since.
After a 4-2 East Coast road trip last week, Oakland took two extra-inning games from the Yankees before Thursday's easy victory.
"We got contributions from up and down the order, and we played error-free baseball in all three games," Oakland manager Art Howe said. "It's just a big step in the right direction. We knew we're capable of great baseball, and we showed that."
Miguel Tejada added a two-run double in the A's four-run seventh inning as Oakland sent the Yankees to their fourth straight defeat.
Six players drove in at least one run for the A's. They reached base in every inning against Mike Mussina (4-4), who was uncharacteristically wild, and New York's weary bullpen.
Chad Bradford (2-1), who got the victory in two scoreless innings of work, rescued the A's from a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
"They pitched better this week, and that made for a more stable club," New York manager Joe Torre said. "They're pitching like they're capable of, like the way they did last year."
Hernandez drove home Tejada with a long drive to left-center off Mussina, who allowed eight hits and walked four in six innings.
Mussina, whose personal three-game winning streak was snapped, wasn't sharp. He hadn't walked that many batters since June 2, 1999, but he was kept in the game in an attempt to rest a bullpen taxed by three straight extra-inning games.
"It was one of those days where whatever changes I tried to make didn't work," Mussina said. "I didn't know where anything was going most of the time. I couldn't really throw anything over the plate where I wanted to."
Tejada, normally a free swinger, walked three times – twice against Mussina – and scored two runs.
"He's a strike machine, but my first at-bat, he threw me four balls in a row, and I said, 'What's going on?"' Tejada said.
Mike Stanton, who gave up one earned run in his first 19 appearances this season, allowed four straight batters to reach base in the seventh. In addition to Tejada's bases-loaded double, Eric Chavez had an RBI single and Robin Jennings hit a sacrifice fly.
Stanton allowed four earned runs without recording an out. The Yankees, who never led in the series, matched their longest losing streak of the year heading into a weekend series against the Mariners, who have baseball's best record.
"It's our turn to take our lumps, and now we have to turn it around," Torre said.
Cory Lidle, who's still looking for his first victory since earning the A's fifth starter spot during spring training, allowed only one run until the sixth, when two walks and Tino Martinez's single loaded the bases.
Reliever Mike Magnante walked David Justice on four pitches, but Bradford entered the game and forced Scott Brosius to ground into a run-scoring double play.
The A's scored the game's first two runs in the second when Adam Piatt got an RBI single, and Jennings scored from third on Paul O'Neill's poor throw. Terrence Long added a fifth-inning RBI single for Oakland.
"It was a tough one to get a no-decision, but this is the first time I've been a part of a team that's swept the Yankees, and it feels good," Lidle said.
Game notes The Yankees played without left fielder and leadoff hitter Chuck Knoblauch, who missed his first game of the year with soreness on his left side. Knoblauch left Wednesday night's game after crashing into the wall while catching a fly ball. He's expected to play Friday. ... New York also expects to regain the services of CF Bernie Williams, whose father died Sunday, in time for Friday's game in Seattle. ... O'Neill made a nice leaping grab at the wall to take an extra-base hit away from Johnny Damon in the fifth. ... After a 1-8 start, the A's improved their home record to 7-11.