Parker looks to build off his best performance of the season Wednesday when the A's try to complete their first three-game road sweep over the AL-best Texas Rangers in four seasons.
Since posting a 5.59 ERA during a stretch of seven losses in nine games, Oakland has won five straight behind a starting rotation that has a 1.91 ERA over that span.
Rookie Dan Straily was the latest A's starter to throw a gem, giving up only two singles while facing 22 batters in seven innings to outduel Texas seven-game winner Yu Darvish in a 1-0 win Tuesday.
Yoenis Cespedes hit his second homer in three games to account for the only run. He's batting .310 with three homers while hitting safely in each of his 10 career games in Arlington."As soon as Cespedes hit that home run, I knew just keep it there, 1-0 our best chance," Straily said.
Even with consecutive wins to start the series, Oakland (25-22) still trails Texas (29-17) by 4 1/2 games in the AL West.
The A's now turn to Parker (2-5, 6.04 ERA) as they try for their first sweep in Arlington since Sept. 14-16, 2009.
Parker, who placed fifth in the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year voting after winning 13 games, got off to a rough start this season before showing improvement lately.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA over his last four starts since going 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his first five. His last outing was his best yet, allowing one run and four hits over seven innings before leaving without a decision in a 2-1 win over Kansas City on Friday."Parker, just getting him on track, it looked like he was more confident," manager Bob Melvin said. "Hopefully that's a springboard."
Parker also looks to continue his success against the Rangers, yielding six runs and 12 hits with 20 strikeouts in 20 innings while winning all three career starts.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski went 1-for-3 Tuesday in his first start since May 5 because of a strained right oblique muscle. He's hitting .400 over a nine-game hitting streak against the A's.
Texas, which ranks among the major league leaders with 58 homers, had gone deep in 12 straight games before failing to homer in the first two games of this series.
The Rangers lost for only the fourth time in 13 games, but have dropped eight of 11 to Oakland. They haven't lost three straight since the A's beat them three straight in Oakland to win the AL West crown last October.
Scheduled starter Ross Wolf is expected to make his season debut in place of rookie Nick Tepesch , who was scratched due to a blister on his right middle finger. Wolf made 11 appearances for Oakland when he last pitched in the big leagues in 2010, and was 1-1 with a 1.85 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Round Rock.
"He's the hottest guy down there right now," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I hope he can come up and continue that."
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Right foot stress fracture|
|April 30, 2013||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|May 18, 2013||Ian Kinsler||15-Day DL||Right intercostal strain|
|May 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|May 06, 2013||A.J. Pierzynski||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 06, 2013||A.J. Pierzynski||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 20, 2013||Nick Tepesch||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm bruise|
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Ross Wolf was thinking about retirement while languishing in the minor leagues for a third straight year.
The Texas Rangers right-hander will probably reconsider now.
Wolf pitched five strong innings for his first big league win in his first start in the majors, David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered in a three-run first inning, and the Rangers avoided a sweep with a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old Wolf came up from Triple-A Round Rock for a spot start after the Rangers scratched rookie Nick Tepesch because of a blister.
He beamed in front of the cameras afterward and said "awesome" a lot after escaping trouble in the fourth and fifth and getting a big boost from Neal Cotts when he was replaced in the sixth.
A year ago, Wolf (1-0) had a pregnant wife on bed rest and a boy who missed him at home while be bounced between Double-A Frisco and Round Rock in the Texas farm system.
He spent 2011 in the Houston organization after refusing a minor league assignment with Oakland at the end of the 2010 season.
"It tests your patience," said Wolf, who was making his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2010, as a reliever for the A's. "My wife gets a lot of the credit. She told me to stick with it, and thank God I did."
Cotts, pitching a day after getting three outs on six pitches in his game in the majors since May 25, 2009, struck out the side when he came on for Wolf with two runners on and no outs in the sixth.
The left-hander whose best season came with the Chicago White Sox when they won the World Series in 2005 escaped trouble again in the seventh, getting Adam Rosales on a lineout and Coco Crisp on a foul pop with a runner at third.
"He may have been here in Texas a short time, but he hasn't been at the major league level being successful for a short time," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's throwing the ball the way I remember him throwing with Chicago."
Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 14 chances.
Elvis Andrus snapped an 0-for-10 slump with a leadoff single in the first, and Murphy followed with a homer about 10 rows into the lower porch in right field. Two batters later, Beltre hit his 10th of the season halfway up the lawn in center.
Jarrod Parker (2-6) was down 3-0 just four batters into the game, but went seven innings for Oakland. The right-hander retired 11 of the next 12 Rangers after Beltre's homer and allowed six hits with five strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
"He threw a couple of early-count heaters that they squared up," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "In the past, early in the season, that game gets away from him. It looks like he's more comfortable now."
Wolf, who had 25 career relief appearances, retired the first nine hitters and gave up one run with three strikeouts and two walks in five-plus innings.
It was the second time in three days a Texas pitcher has made his first major league start after previous stints as a reliever with other teams. Josh Lindblom lost to Oakland on Monday.
"For him to come up and pitch against his old team and get his first big league win, it's cool to stay you were a part of it," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
The A's scored their only run on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Moss with runners at second and third and one in the fourth against Wolf, who was 1-2 with a 2.02 ERA in Round Rock, including a 1.85 ERA in six starts.
Oakland, which had a five-game winning streak snapped, put runners at second and third with no outs in the fifth when Andrus made a sliding catch over his shoulder on a blooper into left from Eric Sogard . Wolf then got Rosales on an infield popup and Crisp on a grounder.
"I think it meant everything to anyone that's in the game of baseball that have a dream," Washington said. "I think he did a great job of going through a hot team."
Notes: Rangers RHP Cory Burns was optioned to Round Rock to make room for Wolf. ... Tepesch is scheduled to start Sunday at Seattle, and Yu Darvish will pitch the first game of a day-night doubleheader in Arizona on Monday. The second starter is undecided. ... A's SS Jed Lowrie didn't start after getting hit by a pitch on his right foot Tuesday night. ... Oakland OF Josh Reddick (sprained right wrist) was eligible to come off the DL Wednesday and will join the team Friday in Houston for limited batting practice.