SEATTLE – This wasn’t the way Jarrod Parker wanted to head into the postseason.
The Oakland A’s right-hander was tagged for three homers and seven runs Saturday in a 7-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
With the defeat, the A’s now know they’ll face the Detroit Tigers in the American League Divisional Series. They needed to win both of their remaining games and have Boston lose twice in order to gain the AL’s No. 1 seed. The A’s and Tigers will play Game 1 on Friday at O.co Coliseum with game time to be announced.
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Parker is expected to start Game 2 on Saturday, but he won’t be taking the mound on a high note. He struggled Saturday for the second time in his final three regular-season starts. His poor start Sept. 16 against the Los Angeles Angels can be written off somewhat because he was coming off a stomach bug that zapped his strength. But this isn’t the form the A’s want to see from the second-year right-hander, who led the A’s rotation all year alongside veteran Bartolo Colon.
Starting pitching report
Parker left pitches hanging over the plate all afternoon and paid the price. Justin Smoak hit a two-run shot in the second. Miller went deep for his first homer in the third to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. In the fifth, Parker allowed consecutive singles to Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin to load the bases. Then Miller connected on a 2-1 pitch for his first career grand slam.
Parker hadn’t surrendered as many as three homers since he allowed four at Cleveland on May 6. After a terrific run that extended from May into September, he’s now lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven earned runs in two of his past three starts.
Four relievers held the Mariners scoreless over 3 2/3 innings after Parker left, giving the A’s a chance at a comeback.
At the plate
The A’s didn’t go quietly after falling behind 7-1. Alberto Callaspo singled home Jed Lowrie in the sixth. Back-to-back homers in the seventh–-a two-run shot from Brandon Moss followed by a Callaspo home run–-made it 7-5. But Oakland couldn’t complete the comeback despite Seattle’s bullpen leaving the door open. The A’s stranded the bases loaded in the sixth and eighth.
Moss’ homer was his team-high 30th of the season, the first time he’s reached that milestone in his career.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
An announced crowd of 17,751 showed up for the Saturday matinee.
A win in the regular-season finale Sunday would give the A’s 96 victories on the season. The last time they reached that total was 2003. Rookie Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.90) will try to solidify his spot in the playoff rotation. He’ll oppose right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-2, 4.56), with first pitch at 1:10 p.m.