Melvin on Parker: 'I think he was spent'
Jarrod Parker allowed two runs in seven innings, but did not factor into the decision on Friday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Jarrod Parker was cruising.
Sixteen Boston batters up, sixteen Boston batters down. In order.
And according to A's radio broadcaster Vince Cotroneo, it only took Parker 50 pitches to retire those 16 Red Sox hitters in a row. So surely, Parker, who had thrown 93 pitches, could have taken the mound for the eighth inning, no?
"I think he was spent," said A's manager Bob Melvin.
"It was in the better interest of the team to give a clean inning to our relievers," Parker insisted.
"If I go out there and walk a guy (to start the eighth), it's not smart."
[INSTANT REPLAY: Defensive miscues hurt A's]
So you know what happened next. Left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle gave up a lead-off single, allowed a sacrifice bunt in which he said he slipped, otherwise he had a play at second, got a ground out and hit a batter for the first time in his career. And Shane Victorino, plunked on the right wrist, was not happy.
"It just got away from me," Doolittle said. "I feel terrible about where I hit him and how I hit him and the fact that I even hit him, but you get a guy that's such a good fastball hitter, you want to come inside and try to move his head a little bit and make him a little bit less comfortable in there, and it got away from me a little bit."
Then Ryan Cook allowed a stolen base to put runners at second and third before surrendering the game-winning two-run single with two out to Woodland native Dustin Pedroia.
Doolittle absorbed the loss and Parker got a no decision, though his ERA dropped from 4.04 to 3.95. He remained unbeaten in nine starts -- he is 4-0 -- and he struck out three.
All of which is mildly surprising, considering how uneven Parker was to begin, although two errors in the second inning did not help matters.
Three of Boston's six hits came in the first two innings and although he did not walk a batter, Parker was having issues.
"He was struggling early with his command and fighting with himself," Melvin said.
"He just found it again. He was missing by wide margins early on."
No. 9 hitter Brock Holt's two-out single in the second gave Boston the 2-0 lead and he went to second on Yoenis Cespedes' ill-advised throw to the plate and moved to third on catcher John Jaso's ensuing throwing error trying to get Holt at second.
That's when Parker locked in.
Parker got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out to second…and the streak of 16 straight Red Sox batters set down was on.
"The ball was up," Parker said. "After that second inning, I was able to sink it and move it back and forth…able to get back to a solid gameplan."
It just was not meant to go past the seventh inning.