OAKLAND -- The bad news started early for the Yankees, when Mark Teixeira was scratched about 20 minutes before the game with what was announced as a ribcage injury. It only got worse from there.
Texieira's absence not only took the most powerful bat out of their linep, it moved Brian McCann from behind the plate to first base (no problems there) and John Ryan Murphy from the bench to behind the plate (big problems there).
As a result, the Yankees, who played a pretty terrific game Friday night, played a pretty terrible game on Saturday night, losing 5-1. But they will still go home with a winning record on this road trip -- they are 5-3 with one game to go -- and have a chance to win the series from the first-place A's in Sunday's finale.
No help for Hiro: Hiroki Kuroda's line was not good -- 4 2/3 innings pitched, five hits, four earned runs -- but he didn't get much help from his infield, his catcher or his offense, either. And the 38-minute delay while the lights were out at O.co Coliseum may not have worked to his benefit, either. Still, Kuroda struggled with his command from the first inning on, and when forced to go to his fastball, he got hit hard, particularly by Eric Sogard in the second inning.
Sloppy second: The A's got a pair of second-inning runs on a bases-loaded single by Sogard after Kuroda had sandwiched two walks, to Yoenis Cespedes and Andy Parrino, around a single by Stephen Vogt. It was twice as many runs as Kuroda had allowed in 6 2/3 innings the last time he faced the A's, when he held them to one run on two hits.
Forgettable fifth: The Yankees pretty much handed the A's two more runs in the fifth on a leadoff walk by Kuroda to Sogard, followed by a Coco Crisp bunt that appeared about to roll foul. That is, until Kelly Johnson fielded it, turning it into an infield hit and giving Oakland two runners on and none out. A passed ball charged to Murphy moved the runners up, and a groundout to first -- McCann, pressed into first-base duty in place of the injured Teixeira, made a terrific stop on it to save a run -- scored Sogard. Then, Murphy's second passed ball of the inning allowed Crisp to score, giving the A's a 4-1 lead.
Stranded: In a reminder of Yankee offenses past -- like a week ago -- they got a leadoff double out of Johnson in the fifth, and could get him no further than third. Brett Gardner grounded out, advancing Johnson a base, but hitting against a drawn-in infield, Derek Jeter bounced to second, and Sogard gunned down Johnson at the plate. Jacoby Ellsbury finished the inning by fouling out to third.
Cheapie: The Yankees' only run of the game was unearned when A's SS Parrino threw wildly on Jeter's third-inning grounder, allowing Johnson (two-out walk) to score from third.
Wild high: Twice in the first two innings Kuroda lost control of pitches and sent them sailing over the head of Murphy and all the way to the backstop. No runners on base either time, so no harm done. But weird.
Stopped: Ellsbury went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his hitting streak at 17 games.
Bank failure: Night games require light, and for more than a half-hour, the O.co didn't have enough of it. The game was held up for 38 minutes when a bank of lights above the left-field seats -- right above Reggie Jackson's retired No. 9, as a matter of fact -- went dark in the middle of the fourth inning. After a brief conference with the umpires, Joe Girardi pulled the Yankees off the field, but after about a half-hour, both Kuroda and Scott Kazmir began warming up in their respective bullpens, and soon afterward, the lights began to flicker back to life.
Leaving in a Huff: LHP David Huff, acquired from the Giants on Wednesday, made his first appearance as a Yankee, coming in to start the sixth. Despite allowing a run in his first inning of work on a bunt single and a hard-hit double, Joe Girardi left him in to finish up the game. He wound up working three innings, allowing one run on three hits, a walk and no strikeouts.
Must be joshing: A's third baseman Josh Donaldson, mired in a horrendous 0-for-31 slump, took out his frustrations on home plate umpire Hal Gibson after fouling out in the seventh and was ejected. Donaldson hasn't had a hit since June 6.