All of the pre-game talk about Jarrod Parker being back to his old self went out the window in a hurry Wednesday afternoon, and two home runs by David Murphy and Adrian Beltre in the first inning were the difference as the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 and avoided a three-game sweep.
Parker settled down after the first and struck out five, with one walk and three hits allowed over the next six innings, but the opening inning would be his undoing. Following a lead off single by Elvis Andrus, David Murphy got a hold of a fastball over the middle of the plate and sent it over the right field wall to make it 2-0 with no outs.
After Lance Berkman was retired, Adrian Beltre added a towering shot straightaway to center field off of the first pitch he saw to make it 3-0. The homer put Parker’s home run for the year at 11, matching his total for all of 2012.
Those mistakes would be costly as the A’s struggled to produce runs. Right-hander Ross Wolf didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning when Coco Crisp led off the inning with a single. Crisp advanced to third on a double by Yoenis Cespedes, and he scored when Brandon Moss hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 3-1.
It’d be the only run of the game for the A’s, although they had quality chances in the fifth and sixth innings. Both times the A’s put two men on base with no outs, only for the next three batters to go down easily. Wolf showed poise in his first Major League start, especially in the fifth when he got three straight outs on popouts and a groundout with men at second and third.
Oakland finished the day with nine strikeouts and six baserunners left on board, and they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They are now five and a half games behind the Rangers in the AL West as they head to Houston to take on the Astros in a three-game series, starting Friday with Tommy Milone on the mound.