OAKLAND, Calif. -- Though CC Sabathia's most recent outing certainly seemed like the kind that might get him going in the wrong direction, Joe Girardi didn't sense that would be the case. "I have a good feel about tonight," he said Thursday.
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' winning streak at three games.
Sabathia was far better than he had been in Saturday's start against Texas, 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.
"It's tough,'' said Sabathia, who is 2-7 with a 5.67 ERA. "They put up the runs early and you want to be able to hold that lead and get the ball to the back of our bullpen, and I wasn't able to do that."
Said Girardi, "He was pitching really well and it just kind of got away from him."
Ahead 3-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, Sabathia allowed a two-out solo homer by Billy Burns that made it 3-1. He gave up a two-out, two-run blast by Brett Lawrie an inning later that tied it at 3-3. "Changeup that was just up and down the middle and he put a good swing on it,'' Sabathia said of Lawrie. "He saw that one pretty good."
After allowing a single by Josh Phegley and walking No. 9 hitter Mark Canha to begin the seventh, Sabathia received no help from Carpenter, who hasn't been much help to anyone thus far.
Carpenter, who entered with a 5.19 ERA in 19 outings, made a good play on Burns' bad bunt, getting the lead runner at third, but Marcus Semien's single loaded the bases. Ben Zobrist walked to force in the go-ahead run and Billy Butler's sacrifice fly made it 5-3. "I feel bad doing that to CC and everything,'' Carpenter said. "You want to come in, you want to leave those guys there, especially after he's battled his butt off . . . I don't like letting guys down."
Girardi said Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were unavailable. On the difficulty of navigating the end of the game without Betances and Miller, he said, "Guys have to get it done, That's what we're asking them to do. That's part of the game. We just weren't able to do it tonight."
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.
Alex Rodriguez reached a milestone in the fifth in giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead. After one-out singles by Gardner and Headley put runners at the corners, A-Rod lifted a fly to right, plenty deep enough for a sacrifice fly. It gave him his 1,996th career RBI, tying him with Barry Bonds for second on the all-time list. "You say the same thing about Gehrig and Ruth and Barry's the same thing, he's one of the greats,'' A-Rod said. "This is kind of special because he's also a friend.''
Brian McCann gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second with his seventh homer.
It gave him 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 team's longest such streak since 1914.
After Rodriguez led off the fourth with a single to move within 18 of 3,000 hits and Mark Teixeira walked, McCann grounded a single to center and third-base coach Joe Espada made an aggressive send with the slow-footed A-Rod. Burns's throw home took Phegley slightly up the third-base line and A-Rod, after eluding the tag, dived toward the plate with his left hand and kept tumbling. After umpire Ed Hickox made no call, Phegley went after Rodriguez, who clearly believed he was safe, and tagged him out. A calm A-Rod went right to Girardi, however, and a replay review showed that his left hand indeed had grazed the back of the plate. After a 2-minute, 45-second delay for the review, the Yankees were awarded a run that made it 2-0.
But after Carlos Beltran's grounder put runners on second and third with one out, Drew popped up and Young struck out.
Gardner and McCann each had three of the Yankees' eight hits.