OAKLAND, Calif. — Jarrod Parker looked as if he might finally run into a rough start after falling behind just two batters into the game. After that, it was a typical Parker outing.
Parker matched an obscure mark by allowing one run or less for the 10th time in 14 career starts, pitching the Oakland Athletics past the Boston Red Sox 6-1 on Monday night.
“It seems like it’s the same game every time,” manager Bob Melvin said. “They get one run. Today started off a little spotty for him, a double in the corner and they score a run early. It looked like maybe he didn’t have his best stuff. He then certainly did his thing.”
Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss homered against their former team to send Daisuke Matsuzaka to an early exit and Parker (5-3) did the rest from there, allowing six hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Parker is the first pitcher since Ferdie Schupp of the New York Giants with a string like this in his first 14 starts, although Schupp was a spot starter who pitched mostly in relief when he did it from 1913-17.
“It’s just cool,” Parker said. “Obviously it’s something I never really thought of and didn’t think it was possible at all. It’s fun to look at and I’m obviously honored to be compared to those guys. It’s awesome. I do what I can and will try to do less than one run every time.”
Parker yielded a double to Daniel Nava to start the game, followed by an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia.
But the Red Sox didn’t threaten again until they put the first two runners on in the seventh. Parker got Mike Aviles to hit into a forceout and struck out Nick Punto. Sean Doolittle came in and struck out Nava to end the threat, marking the seventh time in Parker’s last eight starts he has held the opposition to one run or less.
“Parker was able to throw his off-speed stuff when he was behind in the count,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. “He used both sides of the plate with his fastball. A couple of times when we had a threat going, he snuffed it out pretty quickly.”
Matsuzaka (0-3) was chased before retiring a batter in the second inning and failed for the sixth time to join Hideo Nomo and Tomo Ohka as the only Japanese pitchers with 50 career wins. Matsuzaka has not won a game since May 8, 2011, against Minnesota and now might be headed back to the disabled list with a stiff neck.
“Dice obviously didn’t have his good stuff tonight,” Valentine said. “He went out with a big crick in his neck. We were hoping he was going to work through it. As it turns out he didn’t work through it.”
Reddick, acquired last December in a trade for injured closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney, hit his 19th homer with two outs in the first inning to tie it at 1.
“It’s always going to be something special to do well against these guys,” Reddick said.
Matsuzaka then failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the second to match the shortest start of his career.
Seth Smith opened the four-run second with a drive to center field that hit off Ryan Kalish’s glove for a double. Derek Norris then walked and Moss hit the next pitch over the right-field fence for his ninth homer in 22 games with Oakland. Moss played 49 games with Boston in 2007-08 but has come into his own with the A’s in the past month.
Matsuzaka was replaced by Clayton Mortensen after Brandon Inge singled and Cliff Pennington walked. Reddick added a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1 and closed the line on Matsuzaka, who allowed four hits and walked two.
“My body wasn’t in the condition it probably should have been but despite the home run in the first inning, I got out of that inning and I thought I’d be able to fight through a few more innings,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter.
The long balls gave the A’s home runs in 13 straight games, their longest streak since doing it in 14 consecutive games early in the 2004 season.
Mortensen helped save the Boston bullpen by pitching five innings, allowing only a sacrifice fly to Inge in the sixth inning.
NOTES: Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks will be out for at least a few days with an injured left hamstring. Valentine said the team would likely bring up another position player on Tuesday and either place Middlebrooks on the DL or send down one of the 13 pitchers. … Oakland LHP Dallas Braden threw off the mound for the first time since March as he works back from elbow ligament replacement surgery last May. … A’s RHP Bartolo Colon (6-7) is expected to come off a DL stint for a strained right oblique to make his first start since June 17 on Tuesday against Jon Lester (5-5).