Parker’s error helps Tigers beat A’s 3-1 in Game 1
Jarrod Parker charged to his left, planning to field a dribbler
to make an unassisted out.
No such luck.
Parker’s error allowed the Detroit Tigers to score a go-ahead
run in the third inning of a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on
Saturday night in Game 1 of their AL division series.
The rookie pitched well enough to keep Oakland in the game.
Trying to field his position, though, proved costly.
”If he fields it cleanly, he gets the out,” Oakland manager
Bob Melvin said.
The right-hander attempted to scoop Quintin Berry’s slow
grounder down the first base line with his glove. It looked as if
he then tried to flip it to first baseman Brandon Moss – a
converted outfielder – and found out too late his teammate wasn’t
on the bag.
Berry was safe at first and Omar Infante scored to give Detroit
a 2-1 lead in the closely contested opener of the five-game
Parker appeared dumbfounded that Moss didn’t aggressively charge
the grounder or cover first to await a throw. But Parker insisted
he was trying to pick up the ball with his glove and to step on the
bag for the second out of the pivotal inning.
”I guess the momentum just flipped it out of my glove,” Parker
Game 2 is Sunday 12:07 p.m. EDT, about 15 hours after the final
out of Game 1, at Comerica Park before the series shifts to
Parker gave up three runs – two earned – and seven hits over 6
1-3 innings. He walked only one, struck out five and gave up a solo
homer to Alex Avila that gave the Tigers a two-run lead in the
”I made a couple mistakes, and when you are facing Verlander
that gets you beat,” Parker said. ”Just a few bad pitches and one
bad fielding play, and you are in big trouble against him.”
The Tigers chased Parker with two singles in the seventh.
”It wasn’t like we blistered the ball around. Parker was pretty
good,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Oakland relief pitcher Pat Neshek entered the game, getting the
final two outs of the inning and stranding two runners in a
remarkable performance soon after the death of his newborn son.
”Not only was it good for us, it’s really good for him to get
in the game and contribute right away.” Melvin said.
Neshek’s son, Gehrig John, died 23 hours after his birth. He
posted the tragic news on his Twitter account late Wednesday
”It was really tough warming up, and I thought about him the
entire time,” he said, holding back tears. ”I said that baseball
would be a way to clear my mind, but that didn’t happen. He was
”I know it is a cliche,” he added, ”but I really felt like I
had someone watching me and helping with that last pitch. That was
my best slider of the year.”
The A’s wore a black patch on their right sleeves that bore the
initials ”GJN” in honor of Neshek’s late son.
”I can’t believe the support I’ve gotten from the team and my
teammates,” he said. ”I couldn’t be doing this without
Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick said it is ”unbelievable”
Neshek can still pitch.
”I don’t know if I could have even slept if that happened to
me,” Reddick said.
The A’s got off to a fantastic start offensively with Coco Crisp
hitting a leadoff homer off Justin Verlander before fizzling at the
plate against the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner.
Verlander matched a career playoff-high with 11 strikeouts in
121 pitches against the AL West-championship team that led baseball
with 1,387 strikeouts during the regular season.
”It doesn’t even seem to matter how many pitches that guy
throws,” Reddick said. ”He just keeps coming after you with all
of those pitches.”
The upstart A’s struck out 14 times overall – striking out three
times against relievers Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde – and
finished with just four hits.
”I think we were a little frustrated, yeah,” Melvin said.