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Red-hot Parker takes the hill for A's in clash with Red Sox

Oakland's Jarrod Parker tries to continue his impressive rookie season this evening when the Athletics begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum.

Parker, the centerpiece of the deal that landed Trevor Cahill in Arizona, has been terrific for the A's, especially over his last seven starts. He's allowed just nine earned runs over his last 46 innings in that span.

The 23-year-old righty improved to 4-3 on Wednesday in Seattle, as he held the Mariners to a run and three hits in seven innings. He also struck out a career-high nine batters in the win that lowered his ERA to 2.57.

It also marked the ninth time in his first 13 career starts that Parker surrendered one earned run or less. The only other pitcher to do that since 1918 was Dwight Gooden for the Mets in 1984.

"That's a nice stat," A's manager Bob Melvin said after Parker's last start. "It says he's got great stuff, and he can do it in whatever venue. It really doesn't matter to him. When he's throwing the ball over the plate and he's mixing his pitches, he's just a tough guy to square up. We're not even to the halfway point, but we're very pleased at what he's doing. Now did we expect him to be able to pitch games like this? Absolutely."

Boston knows just how good Parker is, as they managed just one run off of him in 6 2/3 innings back on May 1.

Getting the call for the Red Sox tonight will be Japanese righty Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA. Matsuzaka had his best start of the season on Tuesday against Toronto, as he allowed a run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, but did not get a decision in his team's 5-1 win.

Matsuzaka, who is 4-1 with a 3.69 ERA in seven starts versus the A's, is 0-2 this season with a 4.91 ERA in four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.

The Red Sox gained a split in a four-game series with the Mariners over the weekend when Ryan Kalish scored the go-ahead run on David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning on Sunday to carry Boston to a 2-1 victory.

Dustin Pedroia had tied the game in the eighth with his first home run since May 10.

Alfredo Aceves picked up his 19th save of the season with a five-pitch 1-2-3 10th. Vicente Padilla (2-0) earned the win after working out of trouble in the ninth.

Oakland, meanwhile, avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the red-hot Texas Rangers on Sunday, as Travis Blackley tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the A's, 3-1 win.

Blackley (2-2) gave up seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts for the Athletics. Brandon Moss hit a solo home run and Derek Norris drove in a run in the win.

"I'm just trying to throw quality starts in a row, that's the new goal," said Blackley. "You're not gonna have it every day so when you don't have it you want to try and battle through it and keep your team in the position to win."

Oakland took two of three from the Red Sox earlier in the year.