OAKLAND, Calif. - That three-game sweep of the Royals last week? Never mind.

The Yankees headed west after those impressive games against the defending American League champions and promptly laid an egg against the worst the league has to offer.

On Sunday, the no-show by the offense in a 3-0 loss to the A's in front of 25,457 at O.co Coliseum allowed Oakland to take three of four.

"It's frustrating," Brett Gardner said. "We played like crap against the Rangers [May 22-24], Kansas City may be the best team in baseball, we swept them three games and then came here and didn't play too well. It's frustrating when you're inconsistent. You don't want to lose momentum."

The Yankees (26-25) somehow are tied for first in the AL East, though that has more to do with the dreadful state of the division than anything else.

"That's the bottom line," Joe Girardi said of his team's standing. "Things could be a lot worse. So you turn the page and you get ready for Seattle."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

It very well could get worse Monday night, though. Felix Hernandez, pitching his way to another Cy Young Award so far, awaits.

"He's the best of the best," said Alex Rodriguez, who had two hits to move within 14 of 3,000. "We have to figure out a way to win some of these close games, especially on the road."

The Yankees made Oakland righthander Jesse Chavez look like King Felix. Chavez, who came in a misleading 1-5 -- he reduced his ERA from 2.44 to 2.11 -- allowed seven hits and no walks in eight innings.

The Yankees didn't have many chances against Chavez, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven. "It felt like he was throwing about eight different pitches," Mark Teixeira said.

Adam Warren (3-4, 3.75) shut out the A's (20-33) for 51/3 innings before Stephen Vogt jumped on a belt-high 1-and-1 fastball, lofting a two-run homer just over the rightfield wall for a 2-0 lead.

Yankees videos

"Just tried to jam him up and get weak contact," said Warren, who is 1-3 with a 2.87 ERA in his last five starts. "I felt like I made a decent pitch. He just put a good swing on it."

Warren allowed those two runs, six hits and one walk in seven innings, striking out four.

"He made one mistake and unfortunately it cost us the game," said Girardi, who is likely to leave Warren in the rotation and remove Chris Capuano when Masahiro Tanaka returns Wednesday. "I think we got a really good performance out of him. It's unfortunate we didn't score him any runs."

The A's added a run charged to Esmil Rogers in the eighth on Vogt's sacrifice fly off Jacob Lindgren.

In the ninth, Tyler Clippard allowed A-Rod's second hit and issued a one-out walk to Carlos Beltran, bringing the tying run to the plate. Pinch hitter Brian McCann, riding an 11-for-33 stretch, struck out on three pitches and pinch hitter Garrett Jones fouled out to first as former Yankee Clippard recorded his seventh save.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

It was the Yankees' 12th loss in 14 games in this badly aging concrete stadium. Gardner gave a perfect summation on the state of his club, one that failed to capitalize on four games against the going-nowhere A's. Going nowhere, at least, until the Yankees came to town.

"It will be good to get out of here and go to Seattle," Gardner said. "Hopefully, we finish well."