NEW YORK (AP) — Cole Figueroa hit a one-hopper just over the inside corner of first base that umpires called fair. Two pitches later, Jacoby Ellsbury pulled another changeup from Jesse Chavez over the very same spot for a tiebreaking two-run single.
“I thought it was foul. The first one I thought for sure,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said after Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees, which left the Athletics an AL-worst 39-49.
Chavez (4-9) walked Stephen Drew with one out in the fourth and the score tied at 2. Figueroa’s grounder curled and hit off the right knee of leaping umpire John Tumpane and into right field for a double.
First baseman Ike Davis held out his arms, maintaining the ball was foul, and Melvin came out to discuss the call with umpires. Because the ball landed in front of the umpire, the play was not subject to video review. When umps conferenced, they upheld plate umpire Bill Welke’s original call.
“It just looked foul from my point of view because it hit him and he was in foul territory and he was right behind the bag,” Davis said. “So I didn’t understand how it could be fair.”
But Davis said after viewing a replay, he couldn’t tell.
Two pitches later, it was much the same when Ellsbury’s grounder went down the right-field line.
“Our angle is tough, and obviously the ball gets there in a hurry, and when a lefty hooks it there’s some angle to it,” Melvin said, “but I thought it was foul.”
Masahiro Tanaka (5-3) allowed two hits over 7 2/3 innings, and Chasen Shreve and Adam Warren completed the three-hitter, which sent the A’s to their eighth loss in 13 games.
Oakland got all its runs in the second, when Josh Reddick reached on catcher’s interference by Brian McCann, and Billy Butler and Mark Canha hit RBI doubles.
Tanaka retired his final 13 batters and 18 of his last 19, allowing Butler to reach on a wild pitch striking out in the fourth.
“We had some decent swings on him early,” Melvin said. “His split was probably up a little bit more early in the game. He started using all his pitches a little bit later.”
Chavez gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, falling behind on Brett Gardner’s first-inning homer. He had been 4-0 against the Yankees but set his season high for losses after dropping to 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA is in his last three starts.
“This is that stretch for me, personally. It happens every year,” Chavez said. “It’s just location, where early on the year those pitches were getting swung at and on to the ground and now they’re getting taken for balls and I have to fight back into the count.”
Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien made a high throw on Ellsbury’s two-out grounder in the eighth, allowing two runs to score. Semien has 28 errors — eight more than any other major leaguer this season — including six in his last 11 games.
“Confidence-wise, sometimes you get on a roll and you start feeling confident,” Melvin said. If you make an error, it gets away from you a little bit as far as confidence goes.”
Athletics: Left-hander Scott Kazmir threw and appeared to be OK, a day after leaving a start after three innings because of triceps tightness.
Athletics: Kendall Graveman (6-4) starts Friday at Cleveland, and Danny Salazer (7-4) opens for the Indians. Graveman is 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA in nine starts since he was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on May 23.