A's finish sweep behind Parker's great start

A's finish sweep behind Parker's great start

A's finish sweep behind Parker's great start
DENVER -- Jarrod Parker was apparently in no mood for another slugfest.

Having watched the A's and Rockies combine for 31 runs over the previous two days, the Oakland righty set out to keep the latter from plating any more Thursday.

Parker did just that, tossing seven scoreless innings, while his teammates kept swinging away to complete the three-game sweep with an 8-2 victory over Colorado. It marked the A's first road sweep since September 2010 in Seattle.

Oakland scored 26 runs in the series, which came on the heels of a three-game sweep to the D-backs in Arizona, and tallied a grand total of 70 hits -- "We took batting practice out here," Josh Reddick said -- despite not having Yoenis Cespedes for all but one inning of it. Not too shabby for a team that entered the day owners of baseball's worst batting average (.222) with the third fewest runs scored (229).

"Trust me, those are two good places to hit," manager Bob Melvin said. "Regardless, it does something for your confidence."

"Absolutely," Brandon Moss added. "You see well here. Breaking balls don't quite break as well as they do in other parks because the air is thin and the balls are dry. And, obviously, if you hit a ball in the air good, it has a chance to get out. This is a great place to hit."

And pitch, at least when your name is Jarrod Parker.

The 23-year-old rookie's workload amounted to just two fewer innings than Bartolo Colon and Tommy Milone combined for (nine) in the series' first two contests, and it included just three hits and six strikeouts with just one walk by way of 89 pitches.

"I watched our guys pitch, their guys swing, and I went into the game wanting to keep the ball down, and with my two-seamer today, I think the plan really worked," Parker said. "You can't get hurt on the ground."

"He's got some grit and some determination to him," Melvin said. "It's difficult to sit here for a couple of days and watch balls fly all around this park like it's a pinball machine and then go out and throw seven scoreless with three hits.

"His fastball and changeup has that gap to where, it seems when he's pitching well, everybody is in between, a little ahead of the fastball and just behind the changeup. It's difficult in this ballpark to go out there and pitch seven innings of shutout ball."

Parker faced just one over the minimum through the first five frames, with Rockies manager Jim Tracy deeming his work "terrific," as he netted zero after zero to support an offense that would seemingly do quite all right if stuck in Denver for the remainder of the season.

Nine home runs were collected in the series, with Moss being responsible for four of them in the three-day span, becoming the first A's player to hit as many in a three-game series since Geronimo Berroa did it against Minnesota on Aug. 12-14, 1996. The first baseman now has five in just eight games with the A's.

Moss also added two doubles to his day, the first of which jumpstarted a two-run second inning and the second of which led to two runs in the third off Rockies starter Alex White, who was tagged with four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in just four innings of work.

"Obviously, I'm happy with the way I'm playing," Moss said. "I got a lot of good pitches to hit this series. I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and drive it, the same approach I've been using the last couple of years, instead of worrying about getting a base hit every time."

"It's been a welcome addition to the lineup to have someone past the middle of the order knock in some runs too," Melvin said. "We feel like we have some depth to our lineup."

Reddick added to the homer-happy party in the eighth with his 15th homer of the season and first of the month to snap a 14-game homerless streak. He tallied three hits on the day, falling a triple short of the cycle.

The A's tacked on three more runs in the ninth, before the Rockies finally got on the board against lefty Brian Fuentes in the bottom half of the inning with two runs that proved too little, too late.

"You come in here and even the road trip, hopefully we can take the momentum gained here back home and continue doing this at home," Reddick said. "I think it was a good booster."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.