OAKLAND -- On a night where the historically stagnant A's offense belted out 12 runs - eight of which came in one inning -- somehow a rookie pitcher managed to steal the show. As the shock and awe of the A's suddenly potent offense subsided, next to all of the crooked numbers, and the double digits in the A's run column, a lonely zero stood alone.That is when it sunk in that Jarrod Parker was no-hitting the top offense in all of baseball, the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.RECAP: Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 12, Rangers 1
Parker wouldn't make history in his ninth career start. He ended up allowing an eighth inning hit to Michael Young. What he did do however, was get his second win, and stun a very tough Texas Rangers ballclub. At 23, Parker proved without a shadow of a doubt, that he belongs in the big leagues. "He is a tough kid, there's no doubt about it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was really disappointing for him to have the spring that he did, and not make the team, and not go to Japan and all of those things. That was hard on him. He worked really hard on his command, that was the only issue."As Parker finished the seventh inning, he had 107 pitches. Even with the A's up 10-0, the rookie pitcher who has already undergone one Tommy John procedure, left A's manager Bob Melvin with a serious dilemma. "I looked at Curt and I said there is always something to grind on, even in a game like that," Melvin said. "That was difficult. If he comes in after eight, he's at 120, what do you do? I am glad I didn't have to make that decision. He's pretty important to us. Parker ended up throwing 111 pitches. He struck out six hitters, and threw a career-high eight shutout innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.40, which is the lowest among A.L. rookies with a minimum of 40 innings pitched. Even after the best start of his life, Parker kept things in perspective."It's fun, it's a win," Parker said. "I think that's what we needed right now.""The more times he goes out there the more comfortable he gets," catcher Kurt Suzuki said.When a guy is throwing a no-hitter teammates tend to isolate him in the dugout. No one wants to throw off the mojo. "I didn't go near him," Melvin said. Parker treated the situation differently. He was calm in the dugout and talked to his teammates. "He keeps it lose in there and does his thing," Suzuki said."I treated it just like another game," Parker said. "An 8-0 lead is fun to pitch with. After we got those runs it was something where I just wanted to get out there and get the guys back in as quick as I could."Back to the offensive subplot that appeared to be the big story until Parker flirted with history. It began with an eight-run second inning in which the A's sent 13 hitters to the plate. Brandon Inge started and finished the scoring in that inning. He launched a three-run homer with no outs, making it 3-0, and later knocked in an RBI single. Also a factor in that inning was Cliff Pennington. On a day in which the A's drafted two short stops in the first round, and started Grant Green at short in Triple-A -- Cliff Pennington broke out of his 0 for 29 slump. He did so with authority, lacing an RBI double to right field. He ended up 2 for 4. "To watch him go through that was hard on all of us," Melvin said. "For him to get a couple of hits, certainly the first one to drive in a run, and keep that inning going was big. Everyone on this team is pulling for him, knowing what he was going though."Seemingly lost in the shuffle under the full moon at the Coliseum was Seth Smith's offensive performance. He was 4 for 4, and a homer shy of the cycle when he stepped to the plate to face Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry in the eighth. He had to have been licking his proverbial chops. Gentry got Smith to fly out to end the inning.
Smith ended up with two singles, a double and a triple. It was the first time a Rangers position player has pitched in a game since Scott Sheldon on September 6, 2000. NOTES:Yoenis Cespedes left the game after hitting a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth. After the game Bob Melvin said that he believes Cespedes will be OK to play tomorrow. The A's completed the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. They had three picks and chose all high school players. They haven't taken three high school players with their first three picks since 1978 when they drafted Mike Morgan and Tim Conroy in the first round, and Keith Atherton in the second round.