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Oakland Athletics' Derek Norris (36) hits a three-run home run off New York Yankees' pitcher CC Sabathia (52) in the fourth inning of their baseball game held at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND -- The focus of the Oakland clubhouse after the A's pinned a 6-4 loss on the Yankees on Friday was a replay of the beanball brawl between Arizona and Los Angeles in Dodger Stadium.

While players from those two teams were swarming each other on the big screen with the A's offering critiques and play-by-play narration, just to the side of the screen, Bartolo Colon came out of the shower, found catcher Derek Norris and gave him a big smile and big fist bump.

Norris did more than nurse Colon through a strange night of baseball, with Colon walking four after having walked just six in a dozen previous starts. Holding the Yankees scoreless while doing it was worthy of the fist bump.

In addition, Norris contributed an RBI double and a three-run homer off 2007 Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia.

Colon wound up throwing six shutout innings, giving up just three hits so that the four walks didn't hurt him. He's on a five-game winning streak in which he'd gone at least seven innings in each of the first four games, but on this night, it took 102 pitches to get him through six innings, so seven was out of the question.

"Catching is always going to be the most important thing for me to do,'' Norris said of balancing his work behind the plate with his power, which included a career-best four RBIs. "Contributing (offensively) is all good. Anytime I can contribute, it's good. You always want to contribute.''


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Norris had just one hit in six career at-bats against Sabathia, but after Coco Crisp opened the game with a homer in the first, it was Norris's RBI double in the second that made it 2-0 and his three-run blast to left that had the A's feeling good about life with a 5-0 lead after four.

The A's stretched the lead to 6-0 before the Yankees put together a late rally, but when Seth Smith tracked down Travis Hafner's deep fly with two out in the ninth, the A's had enough to hold on to their third win in four tries against the Yankees.

The news was not uniformly good, even as the A's moved within percentage points of the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West.

Smith was in the game only because Yoenis Cespedes came up limping with a strained hamstring after running out a grounder in the first inning. And while Crisp played all nine innings in center, he was limping for his last couple of at-bats.

Manager Bob Melvin said the club hoped that by taking Cespedes out early, their left fielder would be able to avoid missing much time. He added that Crisp's injury, while painful, wasn't so bad that Crisp came out of the game.

The news on Colon has been uniformly good this season. He's 8-2 in 13 starts with a 2.92 ERA and has won his last five decisions. He's allowed one run in his last 29 innings and three runs in his last 36 innings.

The four walks were, in Norris' eyes, less important than they may have seemed.

"I think he was trying to play matchups,'' Norris said, pointing out that Colon twice walked Robinson Cano. "He was going to walk Cano rather than give in to him. He knows the guys behind him are slower and more likely to ground into a double play.''

As for Norris, he was sporting more than a homer, a double and four RBIs. His latest haircut has left him with a mullet, which was much the talk in the clubhouse pre-game. Postgame, the conversation shifted.

"We spend so much of the time talking about Dino's defense,'' setup left-hander Sean Doolittle said. "It nice to be able to talk about the three-run homer and the four RBIs. There is so much of what Dino does that isn't seen in the box score.''

  • The A's will bring first-round draft pick Billy McKinney, a high school outfielder from Plano West High in Plano, Texas, to Oakland on Friday, when he will be introduced. He has agreed to terms but hasn't officially signed.

    The A's have signed 25 players from last week's draft, including two taken in the first five rounds. Left-handed pitcher Chris Kohler, taken as a supplemental third-round pick, is the highest player to agree to terms, just ahead of fourth-round pick Dylan Covey. Kohler was 11-1 with a 2.24 ERA in a dozen starts for Los Osos High, striking out 113 batters in 72 innings. Covey went 5-4, 5.04 for the University of San Diego.

  • The A's 39 wins after 66 games is the best mark for any A's team since the 1992 squad also went 39-27. Oakland has won eight of 11, 14 of 18 and 19 of 24.

  • Rookie first baseman Nate Freiman won't end his career perfect against Sabathia. He had three hits when the A's faced Sabathia in New York on May 3 and had singles his first two times up before finally grounding out against him.

  • Crisp's first-inning homer was his third game-opening homer of the season, his ninth as a member of the A's and the 11th in his career. It was his second lifetime homer off Sabathia.

    Wednesday's game

    N.Y. Yankees (Phil Hughes 3-4) at A's (Dan Straily 3-2), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA