Jones was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from Cespedes to Drew to catcher Derek Norris. It was one of several tremendous defensive plays by the A’s, including a couple by Drew and a highlight-reel snag of a foul pop by third baseman Jason Donaldson while falling onto the rolled-up tarp near the home dugout.
Parker (11-8) did the rest, scattering seven hits and one walk while striking out five and allowing just two runs in seven innings. He yielded a Nate McLouth homer and an RBI double by Mark Reynolds, but little else. After the Jones play, Parker retired 11 of 13. He has given up three runs or fewer in five of his past six starts.
The Orioles had a bit of a scare in the fourth when athletic trainer Richie Bancells and Showalter came out to the plate because Reynolds was dealing with a physical issue after a swing.
“The previous at-bat he took a hard swing with his biceps in his left arm, it had just gone numb on him,” Showalter said. “It came back for him. We will see how he is tomorrow.”
After the game, Reynolds, one of the club’s toughest players, refused to acknowledge the injury, joking that Bancells and Showalter made the visit because “they were just asking me if I was seeing the ball OK.”
When told that cameras caught him rubbing his left arm, Reynolds joked, “I just massage myself every now and then. It makes me feel better.”
Reynolds expects to be in the lineup Sunday, when the Orioles face one of their most crucial games of the season. They don’t want to be swept and fall too far behind the A’s or the Yankees or allow some other potential wild-card contenders to close in.
“It’s important. You have that extra wild card, it does allow that one-game playoff, and there are five or six teams in that boat and we want to keep ourselves in there,” Jones said. “We just have to come back tomorrow with the same plan and get this win.
“It’s not a must win, but it is a must win.”