Parker turns the page in A's 10-6 win

May 1, 2013, 12:30 am
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OAKLAND -- Baseball statistics are archived in great detail and have been since the early 1900s. Anyone with an internet-enabled device could quickly look up the fact that Jarrod Parker was 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his first five starts.

Parker's four April losses are tied for the most in Oakland Athletics history. He had to find a way to act like they didn't exist. He had to find a way to turn the page. He had to find a way to forget, while still remembering what made him successful before this recent rut.

The talented 24-year-old went out and got his first win of the season in the A's 10-6 victory over the Angels. He threw six-plus innings and allowed three earned runs.

"I was able to attack and forget about what's done and in the past," Parker said. "Just go out there and trust myself and be confident all at the same time. There's a reason I had success in the past and I didn't want to get away from who I am."

Parker got off to a quick start. He retired the side in order in the first inning and pitched his way out of a jam in the second inning with two strikeouts. A run scored after the A's defense made two errors in the third inning, but Parker ended the threat by getting Albert Pujols to ground into an inning-ending double play.

When it was all said and done, he limited the damage against a tough Angels lineup. Parker's electric two-seam fastball was on display and his change up was effective. He looked more like the Parker of 2012, than the Parker of 2013.

"He did a lot of things we've seen in the past," Melvin said. "Hopefully we can get on a roll here a couple outings and get him past a tough time."

Whatever Parker forgot, or didn't, what's most important is that he remembered what he worked on in an aggressive side session after his previous start. His turnaround couldn't have come at a better time.

"Obviously after last night I knew I had to be efficient and try to lengthen my start and shorten the innings on the bullpen," Parker said.

The run support the A's offense provided helped. The A's hitters scored nine runs with Parker on the mound and 10 in total. Yoenis Cespedes accounted for four of them. He tied the game at one with a fourth-inning double, hit a go-ahead two run triple in the fifth inning, and added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly.

"His bat is huge, his defense, his arm, he's a complete player," Parker said. "He's extremely important to our success. What we do as a team is going through him."

The A's have won all three games since Cespedes returned from the disabled list with a strained left hand. The A's are now 11-2 with him in the lineup and 5-10 when he doesn't play.

After 19 innings on Monday, Cespedes played all nine on Tuesday.

"When I got here I drank a red bull and I was ready for the game," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto.

It certainly looked like something gave him wings as he flew around the bases. In the previous game he got stuck at first base when he took a little too much time to admire his game-tying hit off the wall in left-center field.

"I told Bob (Melvin) that won't happen any more," Cespedes said. "I'm going to run all the time."

With Coco Crisp and Chris Young out of the lineup, the A's outfielders still stepped up. In addition to Cespedes' four RBI, Seth Smith hit a bases clearing double in the sixth innings. The A's are optimistic that Crisp and Young won't have to go on the disabled list.

The A's have now defeated the Angels in all five of their contests this season, and have won the last 13 games against American League West opponents. With a 16-12 record, it is just the second time in the last 10 years the A's have had a winning April.

That's something worth remembering.

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