OAKLAND, Calif. - Al Leiter got only two outs before he grimaced and trudged off the mound, looking every day of his 39 years.
Leiter’s impressive late-season run with the New York Yankees was over — and for a day, so were the Oakland Athletics’ hitting woes.
Scott Hatteberg hit a three-run homer, and Bobby Kielty and Jay Payton also connected while the A’s built an early double-digit lead in a 12-0 victory Friday night.
Oakland’s maddeningly inconsistent offense was back in top form, chasing Leiter (4-4) in the first inning of the left-hander’s first loss since Aug. 2. In the shortest start of his career not caused by injury, Leiter wasn’t able to provide another unexpected patch for the Yankees’ depleted rotation.
“I stunk. What went wrong? Everything,” Leiter said. “I was terrible. It was embarrassing. Not being able to get out of the first inning is embarrassing. I made it very difficult for our lineup to get anything going.”
He made it fairly easy for the A’s, who tagged him for six runs, five hits and a walk. Leiter also hit two batters with pitches.
After scoring three total runs while losing two of three to the Angels earlier in the week, the A’s sent 19 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the first two innings against the Yankees.
“It was good to see us bounce back,” said Hatteberg, who hit a three-run shot off Jorge DePaula in the second. “I didn’t sense any confidence loss. ... You look at them, a bunch of Hall of Famers and All-Stars, and they’re phenomenal. We’ve been hearing about that all year, but you get into September, and we’ve got the same record as them.”
Jason Kendall drove in two runs and Mark Ellis had an RBI triple for the A’s, who beat New York for just the second time in seven meetings this season.
The only other time New York was shut out this year was April 29, when Toronto’s Roy Halladay beat Randy Johnson 2-0. Oakland has an AL-best 11 shutouts.
Dan Haren (12-10) labored through six innings to earn his second straight win for the A’s, who are tied with Los Angeles atop the AL West. They are also one game ahead of the Yankees and Cleveland in the wild-card race.
Leiter went 3-0 in his previous five starts and allowed no more than three earned runs, an impressive resurgence after getting discarded by Florida in mid-July — but he didn’t make it through the first inning at the Coliseum.
It was the second-shortest start of Leiter’s career. He left after getting hit by a line drive by Oakland’s leadoff batter, Carney Lansford, on May 31, 1988.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
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