Oakland, CA – He’s now tied with legendary Catfish Hunter for seventeen unbeaten starts. Jarrod Parker bested American League ace David Price in the A’s 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It is what it is,” Parker said when asked if he’s aware of his tie with Hunter. “It’s just something that I’m not thinking about when I’m going out.”
The righty has better things on his mind, like helping Oakland gain sole possession of first place for the American League Wild Card spot. They pulled within two games of the Texas Rangers who currently hold first place in the AL West.
The A’s got back into the game in the fifth inning when Kurt Suzuki blasted a three-run homer for the 3-1 lead. Price who has lost only once in his last 11 starts since coming off the disabled list July 2, began to unravel.
Alberto Callaspo leadoff the frame when he grounded to second baseman Ben Zobrist, who over threw first base. That error allowed Callaspo to advance to second. David then walked Chris Young putting two on with no outs.
“It was my error no question,” said Zobrist. “I don’t think he walks [Chris] Young unless the error is made. He was cruising up to that point. I threw it too hard and too high and it got away from me.”
Price struck out Brandon Moss but Suzuki followed with a home run to left field that was cleared for takeoff. It was his first home run for Oakland in 405 days. Kurt’s last went deep on July 22, 2012 and was traded to the Washington Nationals on August 3, 2012.
“It’s pretty special,” Suzuki said regarding his home run. “It felt really good and to be off a pitcher like Price… He’s one of the best pitchers in the game right now, so it’s pretty neat.”
Appearing for the first time at O.co Coliseum since being traded back to the A’s, the ctacher blended right into an offense that’s been “hot” since the Detroit series. The 34 runs were the most in a series this year and the hits keep coming.
“We’re getting some better at-bats, certainly starting in Detroit,” said manager Bob Melvin. “Even in Baltimore to some extent we started swinging the bat a lot better. The last 4, 6, or 7 games we’ve been swinging it well. A lot of that has to do with what Brandon Moss has been doing and certainly Suzuki’s hit today was huge because it didn’t look like we were going to string to many hits against Price.”
Oakland’s defense did a good job backing Jarrod whose outing lasted seven innings. He allowed six hits, three runs, three walks and three strikeouts. Parker started the eighth by yielding a single and walk before his night ended.
After two batters reached base he was pulled for Ryan Cook , who gave up a bloop single to load the bases. Tampa Bay cut the lead to one when Matt Joyce hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
James Loney whose batting a major league-high .360 on the road tied the game 3-3 with a RBI double to center field. The last player to finish a season with a road average that high was New York Yankees Robinson Cano in 2006.
Bottom of the eighth, it was the A’s who continued their at-bats. Jed Lowrie’s RBI single scored in Coco Crisp who leadoff the frame with a single. That was Lowrie’s 13th double this month and 12-game hitting streak.
“You look at the last game and it’s easy to say, well we should’ve won,” Lowrie said. “But it was still a great series, a great road trip with a little hiccup at the end. Obviously by the results tonight, we didn’t dwell on it.”