Athletics 2, Orioles 1
After Jarrod Parker and Chris Tillman waged a magnificent
pitching duel for eight innings, it became apparent that a tense
matchup between the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles was
going to be decided by each team’s bullpen.
Coco Crisp had a say in the matter, too.
Crisp hit a tiebreaking homer off Darren O’Day leading off the
ninth, providing Oakland with a 2-1 victory Saturday and handing
Parker his eighth straight win.
Parker (10-6) gave up one run, five hits and three walks to
improve to 8-0 in 16 starts since May 22. The right-hander threw
117 pitches and worked out of jams in the sixth and eighth
When he walked off the mound for the last time, Parker knew he
was done. Instead of retreating to the clubhouse, he watched as
Crisp lined a breaking ball from O’Day (5-3) over the right field
”It’s gratifying that the guys are just able to pick you up,”
Parker said. ”It’s one of those things where it almost seems like
it’s meant to be when it happens.”
Maybe it was. Crisp thought he’d received ball four earlier in
the at-bat. He ended up trotting around the bases rather than
jogging to first base.
”Tried to bunt, tried to walk, and I was still in the at-bat
and I was able to get a pitch,” said Crisp, who has homered in
each of his last three games.
Asked if he’d like to have that pitch back, O’Day said, ”I’d
like to have all of them back to him. I got behind in the count and
he was looking for his pitch. I’ve got to be ahead in the count, so
yeah, he got what he wanted and he did what he wanted with
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had no intention of sending Parker
back out in the ninth. So he called upon closer Grant Balfour, who
got three straight outs for his 32nd save.
”There’s no doubt he’s done,” Melvin said of Parker. ”Good
thing there are pitch counts. Both of those guys, that game might
have gone on for a while. Both those guys were dominant today. It
usually takes one swing of the bat, defensive play, whatever, and
it was Coco’s late. It was good to reward Jarrod because, boy, he
pitched about as good as you can pitch.”
So did Tillman, who allowed one run, three hits and two walks
but remained winless since Aug. 2. His nine strikeouts tied a
career high, set earlier this month in San Francisco.
”Tilly bent but didn’t break a couple times,” manager Buck
Showalter said. ”It’s frustrating. We end up on the losing side,
but watching two guys at the top of their craft matching each
other, you knew there was going to be a fine margin of error.”
Kurt Suzuki doubled and scored a run in his first game back with
Oakland after being traded from Washington on Friday. The victory
broke a three-game skid for the A’s, who improved to 16-17 since
the All-Star break and solidified their hold on the second and
final AL wild-card slot.
Ryan Flaherty homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven of
”In the playoff race, it’s important. Every game is
important,” Tillman said. ”A loss always stinks. They’re never
Parker retired the first seven batters he faced before Flaherty
hit his first home run since Aug. 2. Six of his eight homers have
been solo shots.
Oakland didn’t get its first hit until Jed Lowrie singled with
one out in the fourth.
Tillman didn’t allow another baserunner until Suzuki doubled to
left with one out in the sixth. He advanced on a groundout and
scored on double by Lowrie.
Manny Machado began the Baltimore sixth with his major
league-leading 44th double. With two outs and runners at the
corners, Nick Markakis hit an opposite-field fly to left that was
caught on the warning track.
The Orioles got runners at first and third with two outs in the
eighth before Matt Wieters grounded out to shortstop.
NOTES: Twelve of Crisp’s 13 home runs have been solo shots, and
nine have put the A’s ahead. … Athletics RHP Bartolo Colon
(strained left groin) will throw a bullpen session Monday when the
team goes to Detroit. Colon was placed on the 15-day disabled list
Aug. 17 when he hurt himself throwing on flat ground. … Scott
Feldman (3-3) makes his ninth start for Baltimore in the series
finale Sunday. Sonny Gray will pitch for the A’s. He has allowed
four hits or fewer in each of his first three career starts.