OAKLAND -- Rookie starting pitcher Jarrod Parker has been so successful lately that it is almost a shock when he struggles on the mound. Entering the night, he had allowed one run or fewer in 10 of his first 14 starts -- matching a record dating back to 1918. On Saturday, he lasted just four and two-things innings, which is the second-shortest outing of his young career, and Seattle won the game 7-1. The loss snapped the A's five-game winning streak, and defeated Parker who had won his last three starts. "I made a lot of mistakes, I'm not happy with it," Parker said. "It's kind of embarrassing to be honest." Parker was pulled from the game with 94 pitches in the fifth inning. He allowed a career-high tying six runs -- five of which were earned. It seems Parker either pitches great or allows six runners to score. This is the third time he has allowed six runs in a game. All of his other starts he has allowed two runs or less. "We're so used to seeing him go out there and throw up zeros or one run or less," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I thought his actual stuff was pretty good. It's just that his pitch count got up there rather quickly and he just started to fall off a little bit at the end." Parker got in trouble early in the game when he walked Michael Saunders in the first inning with two outs. Saunders ended up coming around to score when Coco Crisp missed a sliding catch on a ball hit to center field by John Jaso. He gave up a two-run double to Brendan Ryan in the second inning, and a solo homer to Casper Wells in the fourth. When Parker left the game in the fifth inning, two runners were on base. Jerry Blevins entered in relief, walked the first batter he faced, and then gave up a bases-clearing double to Kyle Seager. "What we want to do as a starting staff is be effective and attack early," Parker said. "I did the opposite tonight. It was not very good." A's starting pitchers hadn't allowed more than one earned run in their last seven starts. Parker snapped that streak. He will have to wait until July 15 to get back on the mound because of the All-Star break. "It's kind of just one of those nights," A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "He's been so good for so many starts you just kind of take things for granted." If there is a bright side to Parker's evening, it is that he was perfectly healthy, and had no issues mechanically. Good luck selling it to Parker that way though. "I felt good felt fine," he said. "It was execution that was terrible tonight." Notes:The A's only run came on a Josh Reddick home run in the first inning. It was Reddick's 20th homer of the season, making him the first A's player since Nick Swisher in 2006 to reach that mark before the All-Star break. "He really belongs and believes he is one of the elite right fielders in the league, and he has done nothing to disprove that at this point," Melvin said.Reddick also made a full extension diving catch in right field to rob Ichiro Suzuki of an extra-base hit. After Reddick put the A's on the board, Mariners starting pitcher Jason Vargas kept them off of it for the rest of the game. He tossed his sixth-career complete game and retired 13 batters in a row between the third and eighth innings. Vargas' last complete game was in July 6, 2011 against the A's. Travis Blackley threw three innings of scoreless relief on Saturday. Blackley had been bother by back soreness and had his turn skipped in the rotation as a result. The Australian-born lefty struck out three batters and only allowed one hit. An encouraging sign for the A's. "He's pitching really well," Melvin said. "He continues to impress for a guy that has a certain intensity and confidence now that he probably didn't have before the season."
Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.
Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.
Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.
When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.
His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.
“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”
Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.
“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”
The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.
“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”
Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.
Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.
Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.
But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.
“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.
CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.
Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.
Oakland claimed him Wednesday.