The Oakland Athletics regained a three-game lead over the Texas Rangers with a 6-2 victory Tuesday night, and Jarrod Parker pitched seven strong innings in the win. Yu Darvish took the loss, giving up five runs — four of them earned — on six hits, falling victim to Oakland’s hot hitters despite striking out 10 of them.
Parker surrendered only two runs on three hits, and following a breakthrough inning by Texas in the third, he effectively controlled the rest of the game, mixing in his stellar changeup with a low-90′s fastball to shut down a Rangers’ lineup that looked to be back on track after last night’s eight-run effort.
He had to be reassured by the support his teammates gave him on offense.
Brandon Moss put the A’s on the scoreboard with a solo shot on a line drive over the right field wall to lead off the second. It was the 13th home run of the year for Moss, and he made the most of a fastball from Darvish that drifted outside and over the plate.
Darvish retired Seth Smith and Josh Donaldson, but Josh Reddick kept the inning alive with drive to right, and after stealing second, he came home on a shot to center field by Eric Sogard to make it 2-0 in favor of the A’s.
In the top of the third, John Jaso got a pitch that was very similar to the one Moss homered off of in the second, and the result was the same as he smacked it into the stands in right field to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers got a rally going against Parker in the bottom of the frame. Leonys Martin got things started with a lead off grounder up the middle for a single, and after he stole second with no throw from Jaso, Ian Kinsler drew a walk, and both would advance on a sacrifice bunt from Jurickson Profar.
A.J. Pierzynski got his fourth and fifth RBI’s of the series when he reached for a changeup away and drove it to center field for a double to make it 3-2. Coco Crisp hit Sogard on the relay, who then made a good throw to Jaso at home in time to make a play on Kinsler, but the collision between the two caused Jaso to lose control of the ball and allow the run to score.
It worked out well enough for the A’s. With Adrian Beltre at the plate, Jaso couldn’t control a pitch to the outside from Parker, but the ball bounced right off the backstop into Jaso’s glove, allowing him to throw out Pierzynski at third. Parker proceeded to strike out Beltre to end the inning.
The fourth inning saw Oakland extend their lead thanks to a couple errors by Texas. Donaldson singled to left to lead off the inning, and Smith moved him over to third on a blooper that bounced inside the left field line that resulted in a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Donaldson scored on a wild pitch by Darvish with Reddick at the plate to make it 4-2.
Reddick was subsequently retired, and it looked like Texas would get out number two when Sogard hit a bouncer to Lance Berkman at first, but it bounced off his glove and into foul territory to allow Smith to score from third, giving the A’s a 5-2 lead.
Parker had things under control from a defensive standpoint. The only hit he allowed outside of the third inning rally was a single to Kinsler in the bottom of the first, and while David Murphy reached on a fielding error in the fourth and Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch in the seventh, the Rangers never posed much of a threat against the right-hander, and he’d even his record out at 6-6 with the victory.
Moss added an insurance run after he crossed the plate in the eighth, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Donaldson after leading off the inning with a triple. From there, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour closed out the final two innings, and the A’s went on to claim their 43rd victory of the year by a score of 6-2.
The A’s now have the second-most wins in the American League behind Boston’s 44. Three of Oakland’s four earned runs came from left-handed hitters, a great sign considering they’re set to see a slew of right-handers over the next several games. Oakland will be back in action tomorrow at 5:05 PST before a day game for the series-finale, with Tommy Milone taking on Justin Grimm in Wednesday night’s contest.