Yankees edge A’s

NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, Derek Jeter also connected and the New York Yankees got a useful start from Jaret Wright in a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

Wright (1-2) held Oakland’s slumping lineup in check into the sixth inning, helping the Yankees improve to 12-0 in day games. He got strong relief work from Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth, who worked around Jeter’s ninth-inning error to earn his first save with New York.

The A’s have lost four straight, matching a season high, and seven of 10. They did get slugger Eric Chavez and catcher Jason Kendall back after both missed the previous four games.

Chavez, who had been out with a bacterial infection, was the designated hitter. Kendall, who served a suspension for charging the mound May 2 against John Lackey of the Los Angeles Angels, started behind the plate.

Chavez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, stranding six runners. Kendall had an RBI single.

Oakland DH Frank Thomas (strained right quadriceps) sat out for the second consecutive game, but manager Ken Macha said he might be able to play Sunday.

Making his third start for the A’s in place of injured Rich Harden, Brad Halsey (1-2) gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings.

Halsey came up with the Yankees in 2004 and was traded to Arizona before last season as part of the deal that brought Randy Johnson to New York.

The left-hander fell to 0-3 with an 8.71 ERA in five career starts at Yankee Stadium.

Wright lasted 5 1-3 innings for his first win in seven starts (eight appearances) since Sept. 13 against Tampa Bay. He put the leadoff batter on in four of his first five innings, but Oakland didn’t score until he was gone.

Yankees starters are 13-2 in the last 18 games.

Wright got a nice hand from the crowd of 53,907 as he walked off the mound. Proctor threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings to set up Farnsworth, who worked the ninth because star closer Mariano Rivera pitched the previous three nights.

An error by Jeter at shortstop led to Jay Payton’s two-out RBI single, cutting it to 4-3. But Farnsworth retired Dan Johnson on a grounder with two on to end it.

Johnny Damon led off the first with an infield single and Jason Giambi walked with one out. Rodriguez hit a long drive off Halsey that landed in New York’s bullpen and bounced up into the rarely reached left-center bleachers.

It was Rodriguez’s second homer in two days and third in four games.

Jeter connected leading off the third to make it 4-0.

Dan Johnson’s sixth-inning single put runners at the corners and chased Wright. It also snapped Oakland’s 5-for-54 (.093) skid with runners in scoring position over the past eight games.

Kendall followed with a run-scoring single off Tanyon Sturtze, ending a 32-inning scoreless streak for the A’s at Yankee Stadium dating to last season.

Mark Ellis’ two-out RBI double cut it to 4-2. But Proctor struck out Nick Swisher on three pitches, stranding runners at second and third.

Proctor also retired Ellis on a foul popup with two on to end the eighth. The A’s stranded 13 runners.

Notes: Oakland put All-Star reliever Justin Duchscherer on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Chad Gaudin from Triple-A Sacramento. Gaudin relieved Halsey and pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings. … Giambi is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. … The Yankees are 18-1 when leading after six innings. … Wright improved to 6-2 lifetime against Oakland. His previous win against the A’s was a five-hit shutout for Cleveland on April 12, 2000. … Yankees RF Bernie Williams caught Bobby Crosby’s long fly with a runner on to end the third, backing into the wall with a thud. … The A’s acquired Halsey in a trade with the Diamondbacks on March 26.

AP-ES-05-13-06 1624EDT