Parker goes distance, Moss goes deep as A's walk off
Right-hander strikes out season-high eight Mariners for ninth victory
By Jane Lee / 8/20/2013 2:17 AM ET
OAKLAND -- The smell of extra innings surely lingered, but Monday night's game between the A's and Mariners just couldn't end that way.
The A's needed to get it done before it got to that point, before Jarrod Parker was in danger of walking away with yet another no-decision.
Parker had eight of them in his last 11 outings, mostly because of limited run support. So the fact he got through nine innings for the first time in his career but left the mound without a lead wasn't so surprising. What happened next perhaps was.
On a particularly chilly summer night in the Bay, when few balls were flying far, Brandon Moss' did.
The 2-and-1 fastball from Carter Capps went all the way out to dead-center, over the wall for a 2-1 victory, the A's seventh walk-off win of the season.
"I was very surprised that went out, because this place this year, at night, we've hit balls well that just don't go like they did last year," Moss said. "I was very happy when that ball went over the fence, because when I hit it, I was worried, not gonna lie.
"Jarrod's been pitching outstanding lately, so it feels good to get it done for him."
Just how outstanding? Try unbeaten-in-his-last-15-starts outstanding. He has a 2.59 ERA in that span.
"He's the guy that's pitching the best right now, and we feel great about him," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's worked his way into the ninth two times in a row, and that means he's not only throwing the ball well, he's getting quick outs and giving himself an opportunity to pitch deep into games."
Parker had never pitched into the ninth inning before his last start, when he went a career-high 8 1/3 innings, only to go even further this time around.
The righty needed exactly 100 pitches in the tidy two-hour, 19-minute affair, an absolutely dominant performance that led to questions about whether he was an option for a possible 10th inning.
"I can't send him back out for the 10th, but I didn't have much bullpen today at all," Melvin said. "You never want to tell a starting pitcher that, but I think he had a fairly decent idea, and you're looking up at his pitch count, you get a good feeling he's going to give us the type of performance he gave us."
Parker didn't think about it, but only because he had already told pitching coach Curt Young, "Watch somebody hit an opposite-field homer right here."
"Center field," he said, smiling, "we'll take it."
"The middle of the order up in the ninth, we felt there was always that chance," Melvin said. "They wanted to step up and score a run for Jarrod. Obviously you want to win the game but there's a little more at stake with the way Jarrod pitched."
Parker nearly lost the game well before it was won, throwing away Dustin Ackley's sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning to put runners on the corners with no outs in a 1-1 game.
"Obviously I'm not trying to throw the ball away there," he said. "I could sit there and pout, but if I can channel that energy into making pitches and executing, it's something where I can trust who I am and make pitches. That's how I felt right there."
So he struck out Humberto Quintero, then forced a ball in play and got Brad Miller to pop out in foul territory, before putting away Nick Franklin on strikes to end what at first appeared to be a troubling frame.
By night's end, he had scattered eight hits and struck out just as many, setting a season high, and also stranded five runners. He didn't walk a batter for just the third time in 25 starts this year.
"The way he pitched tonight showed you something," Moss said. "That game could've easily gone another way, but he showed some guts out there tonight. He was outstanding."
Before Moss' game-winning hit, the A's hadn't scored since the fourth inning, when Josh Reddick led off with a base hit and ultimately came home on Josh Donaldson's fielder's choice grounder.
Reddick contributed to Seattle's lone run in the seventh, when he misplayed Franklin's leadoff single, allowing the second baseman to reach second and, one out later, score on Kendrys Morales' RBI single. Morales, too, almost had a chance to score, except he floated to third base on a Justin Smoak single, easily getting thrown out on Reddick's strong throw from right field.
That's not what Reddick remembers about the inning, though.
"Stupid error," he said.
That's why he was getting ready to go hug Moss, who didn't get a pie. Neither did Parker.
"I don't mess with pitchers," Reddick said.