ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish has pretty much had his way in his first year and half in the major leagues.
There is always an exception, and that exception cropped up again Tuesday when the A's Jarrod Parker clearly outpitched Darvish, who gave up homers to Brandon Moss and John Jaso in a 6-2 Oakland win over Texas.
Darvish, signed for a boatload of cash out of Japan a year and a half ago, has gone 22-8 against the rest of baseball. Against the A's, however, he's 1-4 after taking Tuesday's loss, giving up five runs (four earned) in six innings. Oakland also beat him 1-0 on May 21, also in Texas.
Parker, meanwhile, allowed just three hits in seven innings, none of the hits coming after the third inning. He wound up with his fourth consecutive win and his eighth consecutive quality start in lifting the A's back to three games ahead of Texas in the American League West.
"You can't afford to think about who (is pitching against you)," Parker said. "You just know you've got to be on your game. You don't want to change too much. I just had to pitch my game and not think about who was on the mound for them."
That's fine for Parker. For the A's hitters, on the other hand, they came into the game knowing they were facing a bulldog of a pitcher who has a wider repertoire of pitches than anyone in the game.
"He has too many breaking balls. He throws from too many angles," Moss said. "He's going to get his strikeouts. There's no way to know what he's going to throw. So anything that was over the plate I was going to swing at."
Moss, leading off the second inning, hit an 0-1 pitch out to right field for a 1-0 lead.
Jaso, leading off the third inning, hit an 0-1 pitch out to right for a 3-0 lead.
Jaso said being aggressive early in the count paid off for the A's.
"If he gets to two strikes, then he's going to drop in one of those big curves of his," the veteran catcher said. "The way to avoid that is to not let the count get to two strikes. We did a nice job tonight of hitting pitches in the zone."
Parker, meanwhile, did a nice job of throwing pitches in the zone, pitches that the Rangers couldn't handle.
"His fastball was running a lot," Jaso said. "He made it tough for hitters to get a good look at it."
Later in the game, when hitters might be expected to catch up to the heater, Parker mixed in his increasingly reliable changeup.
"It's really starting to come around," Parker said. "It's such an equalizer."
The Rangers tried to a rally in the bottom of the third. A single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt put men at second and third with one out, and A.J. Pierzynski slapped a single to center, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
That was Texas' third hit. And it was the last hit the Rangers got.
"The key was that he came back in the fourth with a big shutdown inning," manager Bob Melvin said of Parker.
The A's got two runs in the fourth with the help of defensive troubles on the part of the Rangers. When Texas batted in the fourth, it didn't sniff at a rally. The same was true in the fifth, sixth and seventh before Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour each threw one scoreless inning.
A's (Tommy Milone 6-6) at Texas (Justin Grimm 5-5), 5:05 p.m. CSNCA