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BOS@OAK: Parker goes seven strong in no-decision

OAKLAND -- Sean Doolittle was apologetic for the 96-mph fastball that drilled Shane Victorino close to the right wrist. But the left-hander also knows that doesn't happen if he doesn't slip on a double-play attempt minutes before.

Boston's Jose Iglesias was on first base as the go-ahead run in the eighth when Doolittle went after a sacrifice bunt set down by Brock Holt.

"I had a play at second, but I slipped," Doolittle said. "I went to plant my feet and just slipped."

So instead of Jacoby Ellsbury's ensuing groundout ending the inning, Doolittle was forced to face another batter in Victorino, who soon boarded first. That put runners at the corners for righty Ryan Cook, who hung a slider and offered up a go-ahead two-run single to Dustin Pedroia in a 4-2 A's loss Friday night.

"That pitch just got away from me," said Doolittle, who had never hit a batter before in his career. "I feel terrible where I hit him and how I hit him and the fact I hit him. But you get a guy who's a good fastball hitter, you want to come inside and make him a little less comfortable in there. It got away from me a little bit."

And when the game got away from the A's, they couldn't stage a comeback, dropping their second straight contest for the first time since June 22-23, though remaining in first place in the American League West, after Texas also lost Friday.

Entering the day, Oakland's relief corps had combined to allow just five runs over its previous 26 2/3 innings for a 1.69 ERA during that time. They just weren't as invincible as they normally seem on this night.

As for Cook, manager Bob Melvin said his pitch "just stayed there in the middle."

"Actually it might have been inner third or middle," Melvin said, "but with Pedroia, you have to make a good pitch right there and you have to get it away. And that doesn't even sometimes do it for him, because he's looking to go the other way."

"He's got great stuff," Pedroia said of Cook. "His slider is pretty darn good and he throws upper-90s. I always hit off the fastball and I just kept my hands back and was able to hit it on the barrel, so it worked out for us."

Pedroia's knock officially spoiled a strong outing from starter Jarrod Parker, who allowed a pair of runs on just three hits with no walks and three strikeouts through seven innings.

Oakland's righty was forced to utilize 32 pitches in a two-run second. He allowed a leadoff single to Mike Napoli and proceeded to hit Daniel Nava, getting two outs thereafter before offering up a two-run single to Holt.

Parker then retired 16 in a row, finishing the seventh inning at 93 pitches, and Melvin had a decision to make.

"He was struggling early on with his command," Melvin said. "You could see him bouncing several pitches and really fighting himself. After the seventh, usually he fights for it pretty hard. I just felt like he was a little bit tired right there. Didn't want to send him out there and get into a situation where his pitch count gets up there. We had a chance to go with a clean inning right there. I think he was spent."

"I always want to continue to pitch," Parker said. "I just think it's in the better interest of the team to give a clean inning to our relievers. If I go out and walk the first guy, it's not smart."

It marked the 11th time in his last 12 starts Parker's pitched into the seventh, after failing to do so in any of first seven outings.

His teammates, meanwhile, didn't get a hit off John Lackey until the fifth, when Seth Smith led off with a double and later scored on John Jaso's RBI single. Jed Lowrie's homer to right field, his seventh home run of the season, tied the game in the sixth.

In between, Josh Donaldson nearly sent another runner home on a bouncing liner that Pedroia tracked down at second base to jumpstart a highlight-reel double play in the fifth.

"That's one of those momentum shifts we're talking about," Melvin said. "We had a lot of momentum there. JD's up and hits a bullet. As soon as he hits it you're thinking there's no way he's going to make that play, and all of a sudden it ends up into two. That was probably the biggest play of the game."

"It was definitely a game-changing play," said Donaldson.

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