OAKLAND -- When CC Sabathia walked off the mound at the end of the third inning, having rung up back-to-back strikeouts to extricate himself from a bases-loaded, one-out jam, the Yankees left-hander wanted to believe that it would be a turning point.
It was an impressive display, but it wound up representing another tease as Sabathia was tagged with his seventh loss of the season, handed the decision on the wrong end of the Yankees' 5-4 loss to the A's at the Coliseum.
"There was no reason not to believe [it was a turning point]," Sabathia said. "I threw the ball well. Now I've just got to tighten up on a couple of pitches and get the ball to the back of our bullpen, which is the strength of our team."
Sabathia was unaware that the Yankees did not have Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller or Justin Wilson available to close out the contest, but any save situation was wiped out by a pair of homers, and those were the pitches that he said would make it difficult to sleep.
Billy Burns nearly scraped the top of the left-field wall with a solo homer in the fifth and Brett Lawrie pounced on a Sabathia changeup for a two-run, game-tying shot in the sixth.
"Just up and down the middle," Sabathia said. "He put a good swing on it. I'd thrown him a couple of them. He saw them pretty good and put a good swing."
With the bullpen short, manager Joe Girardi tried to squeeze an extra inning out of Sabathia in the seventh, but he surrendered a leadoff single to Josh Phegley and walked No. 9 hitter Mark Canha on a close 3-1 pitch, forcing Girardi to call upon right-hander David Carpenter.
"I had to make a change, but he was pitching really well, and it just kind of got away from him," Girardi said.
A product of nearby Vallejo, Calif., who attended A's home games as a youth, Sabathia fell to 4-7 with a 5.32 ERA in 15 career starts at the Coliseum.
"It's been 15 years now; I've got a lot of starts here," Sabathia said. "I think it's still fun for my mom and everybody to come out, but it's just another start for me now."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.