Joyce's homer ruins Parker's improved outing in Athletics' loss
Rays' Hellickson sparkles as Tampa Bay defeats Oakland
Published: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:22 p.m.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jarrod Parker pitched his best game of the season. One pitch cost him a chance for the victory.
Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven strong innings and Matt Joyce hit a solo homer off Parker to help the Rays beat the Oakland Athletics 1-0 on Saturday night.
Parker (0-3) allowed one run and six hits in 6 innings — his longest outing of the season.
“That's what we're used to seeing out of him,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Just one 3-2 pitch to Joyce. Other than that, (they) really didn't hit too many balls hard. Pitched well. This is the first game he's pitched really well for us.”
A 13-game winner as a rookie a year ago, Parker struggled in his first three starts this month, failing to get through the fourth inning in two of them. With the exception of Joyce's homer, he was sharper against the Rays.
“It's coming along,” Parker said. “It's a process. Tonight was something good to build off of.”
Hellickson (1-1) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six to win for the first time in four starts this season.
“He pitched well, that's what he did,” Melvin said of Hellickson. “He used his curveball and changeup effectively. Kept us off-balance.”
Joyce homered off Parker leading off the second inning.
“You lose 1-0, one pitch is the difference in the game,” Parker said. “I wish I could go back and get it. It happens.”
Fernando Rodney worked the ninth, finishing the three-hit shutout and earning his second save in three opportunities.
Oakland, which began the night leading the majors with 99 runs, was shut out for the second time this year. Coco Crisp went 0 for 4, ending a 12-game hitting streak although he reached base with one out in the ninth when second baseman Ryan Roberts dropped his pop fly for an error.
The A's didn't have a hit after the fourth inning. Crisp was the the
Hellickson limited the A's to singles by Brandon Moss, Eric Sogard and Seth Smith.
The 26-year-old right-hander didn't allow a runner past first base and was helped by center
Tampa Bay loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Parker got Ben Zobrist to ground out to end a Rays threat in the fifth.