OAKLAND, Calif. - Though CC Sabathia's most recent outing certainly seemed like the kind that might get the lefthander going in the wrong direction, Joe Girardi didn't sense that would be the case. "I have a good feel about tonight," he said late Thursday afternoon.
The feeling lasted not quite six innings.
Spotted a three-run lead, Sabathia couldn't hold it in a discouraging 5-4 loss to the A's in front of 21,795 at O.co Coliseum, a defeat that ended the Yankees' three-game winning streak.
Sabathia was far better than he was in Saturday's start against the Rangers, when he lasted only 21/3 innings in a 15-4 loss.
But he saw a familiar story play out -- familiar in recent seasons, anyway -- as he coughed up a late lead. He was charged with five runs, as David Carpenter allowed two of Sabathia's runners to score, and allowed eight hits in six innings-plus.
Ahead 3-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, Sabathia allowed a two-out solo homer to Billy Burns that made it 3-1. He allowed a two-out, two-run blast by Brett Lawrie an inning later that tied it at 3-3.
After allowing a single by No. 8 hitter Josh Phegley and walking No. 9 hitter Mark Canha to begin the seventh, Sabathia received no help from Carpenter, who hasn't proved to be much help to anyone thus far.
Carpenter, who entered with a 5.19 ERA in 19 outings, made a good play to get the lead runner at third on a bad bunt by Burns, but Marcus Semien's single loaded the bases. He walked Ben Zobrist to force in the go-ahead run and Billy Butler's sacrifice fly made it 5-3.
In the ninth, former Yankee Tyler Clippard retired Stephen Drew and Chris Young on hard-hit line drives before providing some theater. He walked pinch hitter Garrett Jones and allowed an RBI double to left-center by Brett Gardner that made it 5-4 before getting Chase Headley to fly to the warning track in center for his fifth save.
Alex Rodriguez reached a milestone in the fifth in giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
After one-out singles by Gardner and Headley's single put runners at the corners, with one out. Rodriguez lifted a fly ball to right, plenty deep enough for a sacrifice fly that gave him his 1,996th career RBI, tying him with Barry Bonds for second on the all-time list.
Brian McCann gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second, hitting Kendall Graveman's 2-and-1 offspeed pitch over the wall in right for his seventh homer. The blast gave McCann at least one RBI in each of his last six games and ended the A's streak of five straight games in which their starters had not allowed an earned run, the longest such streak by an A's team since 1914.
The Yankees added on in the fourth. After Rodriguez led off with a single to pull him within 18 of 3,000 hits and Mark Teixeira walked, McCann sent a ground single to center and third-base coach Joe Espada made an aggressive send with the slow-footed Rodriguez.
Burns made a throw home that took Phegley slightly up the third-base line and A-Rod, after eluding the tag, dived toward the plate with left hand. After plate umpire Ed Hickox made no call, Phegley went after Rodriguez and tagged him out. A replay review initiated by Girardi, however, showed Rodriguez's left hand indeed did graze the plate, and after a 2-minute, 45-second delay, the Yankees were awarded a run that made it 2-0.