A is pounded by the Yankees 13-4 in Game 1 of the four-game series

Baseball games are not won on paper. But baseball teams can be built with paper, in the colloquial sense. And the divide between two organizations with very different approaches to this idea was on full display Thursday in Oakland.

The Oakland Athletics lost 13-4 to the New York Yankees in Game 1 of a four-game series between teams with the worst and second-best records in the AL. Which is hardly where their current disparity ends.

It’s natural to cite the A’s reduced payroll in a season defying the worst of their Oakland era. Sharing land with the Yankees, a deep-pocketed franchise trying to win a World Series, only accentuates the contrast.

The A’s had a payroll of $47.7 million on opening day, reflecting a cost-cutting offseason — and continued to shrink. Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino were dealt to the Yankees. Elvis Andrus and Stephen Piscotty, their two highest paid players, have been released as the A’s have openly set their sights on this season.

As of Thursday, utility Chad Pinder held the highest salary of 2022 on the active A-list at $2.725 million, per Cot contract. The Yankees employ 18 more-making players, 14 of whom are on their active roster, per Cot’s.

The A’s played the Yankees hard in New York in June, albeit in a series in which they were swept. The A’s beat the Yankees in all three of those games, a precursor to their July winning record.

But August brought a return to earth for the A’s, whose roster is filled with players trying to position themselves for roles in the future. And while talking about these teams’ ability to “play the spoiler” against contenders down the stretch, a loss like Thursday’s illustrated the difference.

Oakland’s roster included five players with less than 100 major league appearances. Their offense entered Thursday with the lowest batting average among the majors (.215), on track to become the third team in AL history to bat under .217 in a season. Of the 27 rookies they’ve used, 15 are part of a pitching squad that woke up Thursday with the AL’s third-highest ERA (4.27) and the opposition’s second-highest ERA ( 0.733).

The Yankees led 10-0 after four innings. They totaled 20 hits. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton, returning from an injury absence, had three runs. Josh Donaldson, once traded by the A’s and acquired from the Twins by a Yankees team ready to absorb his mega-contract, had three hits and scored four runs. It doesn’t get any easier. The A’s will face Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ ace and the highest-paid player this season, on Friday.

“They’re 1-9 strong,” A’s infielder Sheldon Neuse said. “They have electric weapons, back-end guys. No breaks. You will only have to compete for nine rounds. But to be honest, it’s the major leagues. Everyone is well.

A’s starter, James Kaprielian, didn’t escape the third inning. Facing the team that drafted him, Kaprielian allowed seven hits, walked six batters and recorded eight outs. Oakland’s best chance to keep the game close early came in the second set. Seth Brown and Shea Langeliers singled to start the inning against Jameson Taillon. But Stephen Vogt and Jonah Bride came out and Skye Bolt failed to block them.

Difficult decision: A four-run second inning against Kaprielian could have gone differently had he received a strike call on a 2-2 pitch against Isiah Kiner-Falefa that appeared in the zone. It was called a ball and Kiner-Falefa sent the next pitch down the middle for a two-run single, scoring the game’s first run.

“Not every pitch goes my way,” Kaprielian said. “And I’m not going to make excuses just because I didn’t get a call. The call was a bullet and we move on.

Kaprielian worked on 86 pitches in 2 ⅔ innings. He became the first A pitcher to allow eight or more earned runs with six or more walks in a start since Rich Harden in 2003. Kaprielian had posted a 2.59 ERA in his previous nine starts.

“Not throwing enough strikes, beating myself up a bit,” Kaprielian said. “Didn’t do the job. It’s disappointing. Put the team in a bad position from the start, put the bullpen in a bad position not only tonight but for the rest of the series.

Add injury: A Norge relievers Ruiz and Joel Payamps were both hit by line drives in the final innings. Ruiz, touched on the left zone, stayed to throw. But Payamps, hit in the lower left leg, left in eighth. The A’s replaced Payamps with Neuse, who recorded his last five outs. Manager Mark Kotsay said Payamps was out with a bruised left calf.

Also, three A batters were hit by pitches in the seventh. Bride and Bolt were hit by Yankees reliever Greg Weissert, who was making his major league debut. Bolt, hit in the right knee, batted out in frustration. He stayed on to lead the bases, but was replaced in center field in the top of the eighth inning. Bolt said an X-ray of his knee was negative, but he was walking cautiously after the game.

“Just turn the page on this game,” Kotsay said. “A lot of things happened tonight that were just interesting, I’ll put it this way…Guys got hit, guy made his major league debut on the mound for the Yankees, first guy got hit, he pushed it back and hit the next guy. So weird stuff tonight. Just turn the page. We have to show up tomorrow and play.

Matt Kawahara covers the A’s for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @matthewkawahara