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OAK@SEA: Cespedes crushes a go-ahead solo home run

SEATTLE -- The A's did a lot of swinging and missing in Seattle, racking up 32 strikeouts over a three-day span while collecting just 10 hits along the way.

Yet four of those hits were home runs, and the final two that came in Wednesday's series finale from Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes were enough to lift the A's to a 2-1 victory and series win over the reeling Mariners.

The long balls accounted for Oakland's only two hits of the day, and such an offensive showing won't cut it in Texas, where the A's head next for a four-game set with the division-leading Rangers, while sitting two games below the .500 mark and 9 1/2 games out of first place.

"That's a team that you gotta be hitting on all cylinders to win, especially at their place," manager Bob Melvin said. "You gotta be on it in that ballpark because you know there's probably going to be some runs scored, and you have to be patient. It's a team that's deep, not only offensively but in the rotation, the bullpen."

The A's can only hope, then, that their starters maintain their incredibly dominant stretch -- they've given up just 16 earned runs over 83 1/3 innings for a 1.73 ERA over the past 13 games -- while they gain back the offensive groove that has helped them to a 15-10 record in June.

On Wednesday, it was Jarrod Parker who kept the A's in the game, allowing just one run -- on John Jaso's second-inning solo shot -- and three hits with four walks while striking out a career-high nine over seven innings.

"I think everyone wants to continue doing better than the night before," Parker said. "We all want to go out and throw a quality start and give the team a chance to win and obviously limit the hits and runs and keep the defense on their toes."

It marked the sixth time in his past seven starts in which Parker allowed one run or fewer and the ninth time in 13 career starts. Dwight Gooden (1984) is the only other pitcher since 1918 to accomplish the latter feat.

"That's a nice stat," Melvin said, smiling. "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."

"I try to go into every game and give up one per three, and I think that's pretty good, to cut the game in thirds," Parker said. "That's what I've been taught to do, and if you're giving up one run per three in this game, that's pretty good. It simplifies it a little bit."

Seattle starter Kevin Millwood, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings before exiting with a recurring right groin injury, was responsible for Crisp's leadoff homer in the first, while Hisashi Iwakuma offered up the one to Cespedes -- his second in as many days and ninth of the season -- in the seventh.

"Everybody knows I have that kind of power, but when I'm up there, I'm just looking to hit the ball hard," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I'm not thinking about hitting home runs, just making contact and hitting the ball hard."

Cespedes, for one, said he had never been part of a win -- which was capped by Ryan Cook's sixth save of the season -- that featured just two hits, all home runs.

Melvin couldn't recall one, either, as it happened to be the first time in A's history the club has won a game with only two hits which were both homers.

"Good teams find a way to win games like that," he said. "We've been pretty good in June offensively, and for some reason we didn't swing the bats well here at all. But you come out with two wins, you can't be mad about that."

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