OAKLAND -- If there is a game plan to minimize the impact of losing opening day starting pitcher Brett Anderson for an indefinite time thanks to a stress fracture in his right foot, the A's used it as the outline for their 2-1 win over Kansas City on Friday night.
A's starter Jarrod Parker, matched up against veteran James Shields, threw seven innings of one-run ball, keeping Oakland in the game even with Shields close to the top of his game.
When Shields finally missed with a pitch in the seventh inning, Josh Donaldson cranked out a game-tying home run. When Shields missed for a second time, Adam Rosales delivered a game-winning homer in the eighth.
And with reliever Sean Doolittle and closer Grant Balfour both dominant, the A's emerged with a win in a game that would have been very easy to lose.
After losing Anderson, who was already on the 15-day disabled list but who had been tentatively scheduled to start Friday before his latest health issue cropped up, the A's couldn't afford another loss.
"I don't think there's a need (for the members of the starting rotation) to press with the news about Brett," Parker said. "We went through something like this last year, and it won't be the last time this group goes through something like this.
"Obviously, it's a big blow. But we've got to keep making pitches and stay within ourselves."
Parker did that in a way that reminded Donaldson of someone else.
"I've always felt that Jarrod has the capability to be a front line starter, similar to the guy they threw tonight, Shields," the A's third baseman said. "They both have a great change, know how to use the fastball and can mix in the curve and slider or whatever. They can pitch."
A's pitching coach Curt Young has watched Parker struggle through the early part of the season. The 24-year-old right-hander came into the game with far-from-dominating numbers -- 2-5, 6.86 ERA -- and yet there was something Young saw that the casual observer wouldn't have seen.
"Jarrod's last three or four starts have been getting better," Young said. "They've been the way we were used to seeing him throw last year. I felt this game coming."
Young said he doesn't want to see Parker or any of the starters take on extra weight on their shoulders with the news about Anderson. It wouldn't be helpful.
"I don't think there should be extra pressure now," Young said. "No matter what, they've got a job to do. That doesn't change. This is a young group, and they know it's time to step it up."
Shields took a 1-0 lead into the seventh, but Donaldson opened the inning with a line shot to left field. Rosales, who had a memorable homer denied by bad umpiring decisions in Cleveland on May 8, stepped up and did the same leading off the eighth.
"I knew I hit this one hard enough," Rosales said. "And this time I knew I hit it high enough. It was great to hear the energy from the roar of the fans."
There was also a sense of satisfaction for Rosales, who said he'd seen the same pitch, a slider, from Shields in the second inning with men on first and third and grounded into an inning-ending force out.
"I missed the first one," he said. "I didn't want that to happen again."