SEATTLE — Jarrod Parker struck out a career-high nine in seven dominant innings, Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crsip homered for Oakland’s only two hits and the Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 on Wednesday.
Parker (4-3) allowed just three hits and walked four. He’s allowed just two earned runs over his last 20 innings pitched, going 2-0 in those three outings, and lowering hiS ERA to 2.57.
Oakland closer Ryan Cook pitched around an error and a walk in the ninth for his sixth save.
Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1) took the loss.
Seattle starter Kevin Millwood left the game after just 2 2-3 innings after again straining his right groin. After retiring Kurt Suzuki on a grounder to shortstop, Mariners manager Eric Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin visited Millwood on the mound and decided to remove the veteran and replace him with Iwakuma.
Millwood left the Mariners’ combined no-hitter June 8 with a right groin strain after pitching six innings. Though Millwood did not go on the disabled list, he didn’t pitch again until June 16 against San Francisco. The 37-year-old right-hander is fourth among active pitchers with 2,642 2-3 innings pitched during his 15 major league seasons.
Crisp hit the second pitch of the game just over the right-field wall for his second homer of the year to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. Cespedes hit his ninth home run in the seventh off Iwakuma.
Seattle’s John Jaso hit the first pitch he saw in the second inning for his third home run, tying the score at 1. Parker walked Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan, then advanced them with a wild pitch. However, he finished his 29-pitch inning by striking out Ichiro Suzuki.
Parker settled in afterward. He tied his career-high of eight strikeouts in the fifth by getting Kyle Seager looking. Only Jaso gave him trouble, reaching base three consecutive times, in his seven innings.
Iwakuma was stout in relief of Millwood. Prior to Cespedes’ home run, Iwakuma retired seven consecutive batters prior.
Grant Balfour took over for Parker in the eighth and allowed a one-out double to Seager. Balfour retired Jesus Montero on a fly ball to center and Michael Saunders on a liner to short to maintain the lead.