Rookie Jarrod Parker chatted with teammates in the dugout and kept his same demeanor as he worked his way through seven hitless innings against the Texas Rangers. The way his changeup and fastball were working against baseball’s top hitting team, there was no reason to change.
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Parker held Texas hitless until the eighth inning and Brandon Inge drove in four runs in Oakland’s eight-run second as the Athletics beat the Rangers 12-1 on Monday night.
”We went in with a really good plan and the execution of it was exactly what we wanted to do,” Parker said. ”It’s one of those days. I had good stuff and they were off a little bit.”
Parker (2-2) easily worked his way through the powerful Rangers lineup in his ninth career start before Michael Young grounded a single through the middle on a slider to lead off the eighth.
”I made a bad pitch and he hit it up the middle and did what he was supposed to do,” Parker said.
Parker got a warm ovation from the crowd of 10,120 and then recovered to get out of the inning on two more pitches — a popup by Nelson Cruz and an inning-ending double play from David Murphy.
That ended the night for Parker, who allowed one hit, walked three and struck out six.
”We had a good tempo going,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. ”In the beginning part he was kind of settling into his own. In the third inning he really settled in and started throwing quality pitches. Against a team like the Rangers, to do that was impressive.”
Inge started the scoring in the big inning with a three-run homer off Scott Feldman (0-4) and capped it with an RBI single as the A’s normally meek bats broke through with a big night. Kila Ka’aihue added a two-run homer for the A’s, who had lost 10 of 11.
Feldman was charged with all eight runs in the second inning and lost his fourth straight start. Things got so bad for the Rangers in their fifth loss in six games that they brought in outfielder Craig Gentry to pitch the eighth, the first position player to take the mound for Texas since Scott Sheldon on Sept. 6, 2000.
Gentry allowed a two-run double to Yoenis Cespedes to give the A’s a season-high with 12 runs. Oakland had been shut out in seven of its previous 18 games and had just 12 runs during a recent nine-game skid.
Parker did not make the A’s rotation out of spring training after being acquired in an offseason trade from Arizona for All-Star Trevor Cahill. He has been sharp ever since being called up from the minors allowing two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts for a 2.40 ERA.
But this was his best performance by far, as he struck out slugger Josh Hamilton twice to come close to pitching the second no-hitter in the majors in the last four nights. Johan Santana did it for the New York Mets on Friday against St. Louis.
”From the side I didn’t see a whole heck of a lot that he had but undoubtedly he had something going on,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”He made it through some pretty good hitters. He used his fastball, he used his changeup, he threw some good breaking balls every now and then. You have to tip your hat to him. He did a good job against us.”
Mike Napoli hit a solo homer in the ninth off Jim Miller for Texas’ only run.
The first seven A’s batters reached safely in the second inning against Feldman starting with a walk by Cespedes and single from Seth Smith. Inge followed with his fifth homer with Oakland.
Cliff Pennington added an RBI double to snap a career-worst 0-for-29 slump, Weeks had a two-run single and Smith hit an RBI single that knocked out Feldman. Inge greeted reliever Robbie Ross with an RBI single that made it 8-0.
”On offense, we talk about contagious. You have nothing and then all of a sudden somebody breaks through and somebody right after,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”Hopefully this is something to build on.”
This marked the third time in the past week the Rangers had allowed eight runs in an inning. Seattle scored eight runs in the second and third innings last Wednesday in a 21-8 victory over Texas.
”It was like a runaway truck with no brakes,” Feldman said. ”Just couldn’t stop the bleeding. That’s not how you want to do things.”
NOTES: There’s still no timetable for Manny Ramirez to come up from the minors to join the A’s. Ramirez was batting .243 with no extra-base hits in 11 games in the minors through Sunday. ”It’s difficult to bring a guy here when he’s struggling,” Melvin said. … Derek Holland (4-4) looks to bounce back for Texas from a rough start against Seattle last week when he allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings when he takes on Travis Blackley (0-0, 0.82) on Tuesday. … The Rangers used all three of their draft picks Monday on high school players. After taking OF Lewis Brinson from Coral Springs, Fla., with the 29th pick, they got 3B Joey Gallo from Las Vegas at 39, and right-hander Collin Wiles from Overland Park, Kan., 53rd overall.