NEW YORK -- The A's seemed primed Friday for another one of those victories that make it seem like 2012 is just their year.
It all changed with one misplaced fastball.
Sean Doolittle served up Russell Martin's game-ending home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th, and the A's were left to digest a 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees before a crowd of 40,759.
That ended a game in which A's rookie right-hander Jarrod Parker shined in his first start at Yankee Stadium and Brandon Moss pulled Oakland into a tie with a pinch homer in the top of the ninth.
"Parker did such an unbelievable job going toe to toe with (CC) Sabathia," Doolittle said. "Our guys scrapped and fought the whole night. To lose it like that, it's really, really tough."
Parker pitched a career-high-tying eight innings, struck out seven and walked none, the only run off him coming with Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly in the fourth. He kept step for step with Sabathia, the Yankees ace who blanked Oakland over eight innings and didn't allow a runner as far as second base until the eighth.
The A's trailed 1-0 with one out in the ninth when Moss pinch-hit for first baseman Chris Carter. He drilled a 2-2 pitch from Yankees closer Rafael Soriano into the second deck in right field, and the A's dugout sprung to life.
Doolittle (1-1) was sharp in the ninth and A's manager Bob Melvin stuck with the left-hander to start the bottom of the 10th against the
Melvin said he wasn't going to summon closer Grant Balfour unless the A's grabbed the lead.
"He just got a ball up," Melvin said of Doolittle. "You got to give Martin credit. Not too many guys have squared him up like that and got on top of his fastball."
Doolittle has been a remarkable story, starting the year at Single-A after switching from first base to pitching just last summer. He said he was trying to go down and away on an 0-1 pitch to Martin but caught too much of the plate with a 93 mph fastball.
The left-hander is from New Jersey, and he had about 15 people in the stands, including his brother, Ryan, a minor league pitcher for Oakland.
The A's fell a game behind Baltimore for the American League's top wild-card spot with 12 games to go. They lead the Angels by 31/2 games for the second spot.
Parker said dropping the opener of this three-game series, even in heartbreaking fashion, won't deter the A's.
"It's one of those things, you sleep on it, and it's done," he said. "You can't go back and change it. We've moved on from worse."
Parker gave up his first hit in entertaining fashion in the third, when Ichiro Suzuki's bouncer went right at him and slipped down his jersey. Parker fumbled for the ball for a moment before it settled near his stomach, as if in a pouch.
"I knew it was in there and then I had, like, doubts once I was digging and couldn't find it," Parker said with a smile.
The rookie earned praise from Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.
"He really located his pitches well today," Swisher said. "You got to tip your hat. He's a young stud, and he's going to be a good one."
Little-used Collin Cowgill started in center and hit leadoff, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout.
Only in New York do the A's get this kind of exposure.
"We had a good following," Blevins said.
Back at the Fan Cave, which doubles as a concert venue, Griffin surprised his teammate by grabbing an acoustic guitar and performing a solo rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Your Time Is Gonna Come."
"They had a bunch of guitars sitting around, and I was like, 'Can I play one?' " Griffin said.
Griffin said he has been playing guitar since he was about 12 but said baseball has never allowed time to be in a band. He owns three guitars -- one acoustic, two electric.
"I didn't know he could do that," Blevins said. "He's got a good voice, too."
W L Pct. GB
Texas 89 61 .593 --
A's 85 65 .567 4
A.L. Wild-card race
W L Pct. GB
Baltimore 86 64 .573 --
A's 85 65 .567 --
L.A. Angels 82 69 .543 31/2
Tampa Bay 81 70 .536 41/2
Detroit 79 70 .530 51/2
Note: Top two teams earn wild-card berths.
A's (Travis Blackley 5-3) at N.Y. Yankees (Ivan Nova 12-7), 10:05 a.m. CSNCA
Combination of A's wins and Angels losses for A's to clinch a wild-card spot.