Backed by homers, Parker cruises past Sox

Backed by homers, Parker cruises past Sox

Backed by homers, Parker cruises past Sox
OAKLAND -- With his performance on Monday night, Jarrod Parker continued a run that's separated him from all rookies in the last 94 years. For the A's, that meant a 6-1 win in their series opener against the Red Sox.

Parker finished June with a flurry, allowing two earned runs in his final three starts of the month. If the early returns hold true, his July could be just as strong, despite a rocky beginning to Monday night's game.

The right-hander opened the evening by allowing a leadoff double to Daniel Nava and a single by Dustin Pedroia, and it was 1-0 Boston before anyone had a chance to blink an eye.

But that was the only run Parker would give up over 6 2/3 solid innings, lowering his ERA over his last eight starts to 1.71. He collected his fifth win of the season, besting the same team that he beat on May 1 in Boston to earn his first career victory.

"I'm game to game with him and it seems like it's the same game every time, but now when you guys add those things up, it does make some sense that it's been a remarkable run," said manager Bob Melvin. "Hopefully he continues doing it. He's a tough kid on top of that."

It was the 10th time in the first 14 starts of his career that Parker allowed one run or less, becoming the only pitcher to do so since Ferdie Schupp accomplished the feat for the New York Giants from 1913-17 (with relief appearances during those years). Dwight Gooden had nine one-run starts in his first 13 for the Mets in '84, but he allowed two runs in his 14th outing.

"It's fun to look at," Parker said. "Obviously honored to be compared to those guys. It's awesome."

A couple former Red Sox made sure that Parker's performance would stand up for the win. Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick, both of whom used to the roam the outfield at Fenway Park, smashed home runs to give their starter a lead to work with.

Reddick's first-inning game-tying solo homer was his 19th long ball of the season. Moss' was the bigger blast, as the first baseman hit a three-run shot to the right-field seats in the second inning for his second homer in as many days to put the A's up for good.

With Chris Carter going yard in the previous two games, Oakland's first basemen have now collectively homered in four straight contests.

Although Moss said it didn't mean much that his blast came against his former team since Boston treated him well, Reddick said his blast carried extra meaning. He homered against the Red Sox for the first time during the A's series in Boston earlier this season.

"It feels great," said Reddick, who spent the previous three seasons with the Red Sox but was traded to the A's on Dec. 28 as part of the Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney deal. "I think it felt a little better over there at their place, but to come out here and tie the game up in the first, it's always going to be something special to do well against these guys. I'm just happy to do it and pick up the team in a good way."

Oakland added two more runs later, but the home runs were enough for Parker. Though the right-hander was far from his best -- he didn't make it through the seventh inning because the six hits and three walks he allowed pushed his pitch count up too high -- the rookie added to the A's larger recent success from their starting pitchers.

In its last 19 games, Oakland's starters have allowed 24 runs in 112 innings, adding up to a paltry 1.93 ERA. Even when the team lost three out of four games to the Rangers in the A's last series, the main culprits were the bullpen and the defense. Despite the absence of veterans Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy the last two weeks, Oakland hasn't missed a beat.

The powerful Red Sox came into the game ranking second in the Major Leagues in runs, but Boston's lineup couldn't manage much offense against Parker, nor reliever Sean Doolittle later in the game.

"Well, Parker was able to throw his offspeed stuff when he was behind in the count and he used both sides of the plate with his fastball," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "A couple of times we had a threat going, he snuffed it out pretty quickly."

"[Derek Norris] did a great job behind the plate and we just attacked," Parker added. "You pitch with your fastball, and we were able to do that tonight, down in the zone, not really get beat too much. Singles can't really hurt you too much, and one double. That was it."

Ben Estes is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.