"It's tough. It's tough to lose four games regardless of how it looks," said shortstop Derek Jeter, who couldn't handle the single that put the winning run on base with one out in the 12th. "You know, we were playing pretty good coming in here. Those guys have been playing good. They beat us four games, that's all you can say. They've been playing well, they continue to play well, and they're playing with a lot of confidence."
Right-hander Cody Eppley was again on the mound for the Yankees when the A's notched their 11th walk-off of the season, just like Friday night when the A's rattled off No. 10. The Yanks on Sunday also had a rare blown save from Rafael Soriano to blame. He let up a solo home run to Seth Smith that tied the game at 4 in the ninth.
Soriano had just one blown save prior, and he had yet to allow a home run this season.
"You can't do better than winning all of them," Smith said. "They're exciting games, and every one of them came down to the last inning it seemed like."
The Yanks hadn't lost four games in a row all season, never mind in a series. In fact, no team had swept the Yankees in four since 2003, when the Blue Jays did it. Every game this series was decided by one run.
"Very impressive," said Mark Teixeira, who was on second base with none out in the 12th inning but was not brought around. "These guys always seem to have great young pitchers, and then as soon as they have two or three years, they ship them off. I don't know where they get these guys from. It's like every year they bring in two or three new young, stud pitchers. They have some sort of formula over there. Give them a lot of credit, they do a great job of developing pitching."
A's catcher Derek Norris' first plate appearance came in the 12th inning, and he hit a hard shot off Eppley that went off Jeter's glove and into left field. Jeter was supposed to have a day off Sunday, but came in for the bottom of the eighth inning as a defensive replacement. That was two innings after fill-in Jayson Nix couldn't start a double play quickly enough, costing the Yankees a run.
"It just kicked up," Jeter said of the Norris hit. "It hugged the ground pretty much the whole way and bounced up at the last second."
Crisp's single came with two out after Norris was sacrificed to second by Jemile Weeks.
With the Yanks up 4-3 in the ninth, Soriano left a 3-1 slider over the plate that Smith put just over the yellow 400-feet lettering in dead center. Curtis Granderson had enough time to get back to the wall, but there was no play.
Soriano couldn't believe it went out.
"No, I don't think so," Soriano said. "To me, I thought it was a popup. When I saw Granderson go back and hit [the wall], I said, 'All right.'"
The Yankees had chances in extras, but the A's bullpen on Sunday performed as well as their starters did the three nights before.
A's righty Grant Balfour struck out Jeter with two on to keep the game tied heading to the bottom of the 10th. That was Jeter's first at-bat.
The Yankees again couldn't do anything with two men on in the 12th, when lefty Jerry Blevins worked out of a jam. The afternoon sun gave right fielder Josh Reddick trouble and the Bombers a gift: a dropped fly ball that put Teixeira on second with no out.
"You would think you could tack on some runs," Yanks manager Joe Girardi said. "That was the thing. We weren't able to tack on any runs and we let them stay around. That was part of the problem."
David Robertson did his part in relief for New York, protecting a 4-3 lead with a runner on second and none out in the eighth and the Nos. 3-4-5 hitters up. David Phelps was strong following Soriano, going 1 2/3 scoreless from the 10th into the 11th.
Sunday was at one time shaping up to be just like the other games in the series: fast. CC Sabathia and the Yankees had a 4-0 lead after four. The lefty, who gave up three runs, was in line for his 11th win when he left after 98 pitches in seven innings. Sabathia's trouble inning was the fifth, when Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki -- the latter hadn't homered in 78 games -- hit solo shots. That made it 4-2.
The Yankees had been thrown for a loop by rookie Oakland starters the first three games of the series, but Bartolo Colon is no newbie. The ex-Yankee was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings.
New York went ahead 3-0 in the third, the last two of those runs coming on a Rodriguez double off the wall. Granderson knocked his team-leading 26th home run of the season to right in the fourth, a solo shot put the Yankees up, 4-0.
"We ran into the Green Machine over there," Rodriguez said. "Those guys are playing good ball, playing good baseball, pitching well. Everything they're doing is working out well for them. That last inning they get an infield hit, a one-out sacrifice -- which you don't see very often -- and a first-pitch base hit that kind of epitomizes how they're going. We just have to keep going."