The move backfired when Carpenter walked Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded to score the go-ahead run and the Yankees went on to lose 5-4 to the Athletics on Thursday night.
"Guys got to get it done," Girardi said. "That's what we're asking them to do, and sometimes it's going to be like that. That's part of the game. We just weren't able to do it tonight."
Rodriguez's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 3-0 and tied him for second with 1,996 career RBIs. Hank Aaron has the record with 2,297. Babe Ruth drove in 2,214 runs, according to baseball-reference.com, but RBIs did not become an official stat until 1920 and the Elias Sports Bureau officially credits him with 1,992.
"He's one of the greats," Rodriguez said of Bonds. "It is kind of special because he's also a friend and I know him very well."
Sabathia couldn't hold the lead. Burns hit his second homer of the season just inside the foul pole in left field in the fifth and Lawrie tied the game with a two-run shot in the sixth.
"It's tough," Sabathia said. "You get the runs early and you want to be able to hold that lead and get the ball to the back end of our bullpen. I wasn't able to do that."
Carpenter, put into the game in a tight spot because of the tired bullpen, walked Zobrist with one out to force in Canha with the go-ahead run and Billy Butler added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Evan Scribner (1-0) retired all five batters he faced for the win. Tyler Clippard allowed a two-out RBI double by Brett Gardner in the ninth before getting Chase Hedley to fly out for his fifth save in six chances.
"We played the game the right way tonight," Lawrie said. "Ben Zobrist with a great at-bat. That was pretty much the whole game right there."
The A's won their first one-run game at home since last Sept. 6, ending a 12-game skid that was the longest in franchise history. The A's were 2-15 overall in one-run games this season, a major reason why they have the worst record (18-32) in the American League.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka, out since April 29 with right wrist tendinitis and forearm strain, is expected to rejoin the starting rotation next week. Tanaka pitched three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and is flying to meet the team in California before the Yankees head north to begin a three-game series in Seattle. ... CF Slade Heathcott was scratched from the lineup with a strained right quad. Chris Young replaced him in the lineup.
Athletics: An MRI taken on LHP Scott Kazmir's pitching shoulder showed no structural damage and he may only miss one start. Kazmir left Wednesday after three innings and complained of tightness.
Rodriguez was initially called out on McCann's single in the fourth inning when umpire Ed Hickox ruled he missed home plate while eluding the tag. Phegley then tagged Rodriguez out as he stood next to the plate. But Rodriguez emphatically waved that he was safe and he was proven correct on replay, which showed his hand just got a piece of home plate.
"That was not pretty," Rodriguez said. "That looked like Shaquille O'Neal coming out of a pick. I'm glad they got it right."
Yankees: LHP Chris Capuano (0-2) is looking to avoid losing three consecutive starts for the first time since 2012. Capuano missed the first six weeks of the season with a strained right quad.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (5-2) makes his second career start against New York. Gray's 1.77 ERA is the third-lowest by an Oakland pitcher after 10 starts in the designated hitter era.