Parker's outstanding effort goes for naught

Parker's outstanding effort goes for naught

Parker's outstanding effort goes for naught
OAKLAND -- The A's did something Wednesday they didn't the night before. They scored a run.

But it wasn't enough to prevent their second straight loss, as they dropped a 3-1 decision and the three-game set to the Angels, despite a stellar bounce-back performance from righty Jarrod Parker.

Parker, who gave up six runs in just two innings while pitching ill in his last start, appeared healthier than ever, showcasing his best fastball of the season -- hitting 95 mph multiple times during the day -- while limiting the Halos to one run and five hits with a career-high eight strikeouts over seven innings.

"I thought that was his best start of the year," manager Bob Melvin said. "His velocity climbed back up, he had good touch with all of his pitches. That's the guy we envisioned him being as far as stuff goes, and he had a confident look on his face."

But Parker's outing was seemingly all but forgotten by the time Alberto Callaspo stepped to the plate against lefty reliever Jordan Norberto with runners at the corners in the 11th inning of a 1-1 game and notched a two-run double.

Aside from Seth Smith's homer run to center field in the sixth, snapping a string of 19 scoreless innings for the A's, Oakland's hitters looked their sluggish selves. Angels righty Jered Weaver, meanwhile, looked his dominant self in eight innings of one-run ball, and the combination didn't bode well for the home team, which has just six hits over the last 25 innings.

The last two games have brought about just four, with the A's tallying only one against C.J. Wilson on Tuesday, before collecting just three with Weaver on the mound. Overall, they're batting a dismal .172 with 27 runs scored over the last 11 games, and their next task following Thursday's off-day is a three-game series with the Yankees.

"There's no doubt both guys threw the ball really well but, offensively as a ballclub, you gotta still make things happen," said A's shortstop Cliff Pennington. "They both were really hitting their spots, ahead in the count all day long, but at the same time you gotta be able to find a way to scratch and claw, especially when your guy did what Parker did. You gotta find a way to get a run or two across for him."

"Offensively, we obviously have to get better," said designated hitter Jonny Gomes. "We're going to put a lot of weight on our starting pitchers, and I think they know that. We've run into some good pitching and we've got some good pitching coming into town, but at the same time this is the big leagues. We've got to get back to being scrappy, putting some guys on, running around and touching the plate more than they do."

The loss marked the club's sixth in nine games, further magnifying the absences of injured Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Inge, both of whom are expected back within the next week. Not too soon after, Oakland could welcome in Manny Ramirez.

"That has something to do with it," Melvin said. "Inge, when he was here, was having a lot of production for us and, certainly, Yoenis is a guy in the middle of the order for us. We got Coco [Crisp] back but, still, it's no excuse. We got four hits in two games.

"We're not stringing enough hits together, getting guys on base. What do we have? One hit last night, three today, and one of them leaves the ballpark for the only run. So we just gotta swing the bats better."

To Weaver's credit, the veteran right-hander has dominated the A's, pitching to a 2.63 ERA in 22 career starts against them. In two games this season, he's allowed just two earned runs over 14 2/3 innings.

"For us to battle, obviously their guy did a tremendous job of throwing strikes and keeping us off balance," Weaver said. "We were able to get to the bullpen there in the last inning and push some across."

"Against a guy like Weaver, you gotta take your singles," Melvin said. "He made one bad pitch today, and that ended up leaving the ballpark. Other than that, our guys were coming back saying, 'God, I wish he made one mistake.' And, really, all he did was make one mistake, and that was to Smith."

The A's know, though, they can't keep playing the waiting game.

"It's our turn to make an adjustment," Gomes said. "It's not like we're a bad team, by any means. We're not getting run out of the stadium every night. These games are close. We're in every game. We have to find a way to get runners on, and do whatever it takes."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.