As an indication of how much Parker has struggled, the night lifted his batting average to just .181. Coming into Thursday's game, he had been in a 5-for-53 slump since Aug. 23. A right-handed power bat in the Minors, Parker had hit 5-for-33 against lefty pitching before Thursday.
Parker started because manager Walt Weiss decided to rest Carlos Gonzalez. Parker struck out his first at-bat, but after that the problems with fastballs disappeared, at least for an evening.
"Unfortunately, we didn't win, but for the past month I've been working on things, trying to figure out my swing and what adjustments I need to make," Parker said. "It's nice to have results. It felt good to take some definite, aggressive swings at pitches.
"I felt like I was just hitting. I let the muscle memory take over and just went out there and played."
With the regular outfield populated by lefty hitters Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon and Gonzalez, and lefty-hitting Ben Paulsen poised to take over at first base after Justin Morneau's expected departure, there are at-bats to be had for a righty hitter. Parker, who turned 26 Wednesday, hasn't made enough of an impression to be counted upon for next season, but he believes he can prove himself.
"If I perform like I'm capable of and play to my ability, a lot of things will take care of themselves," Parker said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.