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OAK@SEA: Parker fans nine over seven strong innings

Jarrod Parker isn't a household name yet, but that may soon change. Parker will take the mound for the A's on Monday in the team's series opener against the Red Sox, hoping to help Oakland forget about a rough weekend in Texas that saw the team lose three out of four games.

The way Parker has pitched recently, he seems like a good bet to get the A's off to a good start against Boston, which had its own share of struggles in a weekend four-game split in Seattle.

The rookie has been impressive over his past seven starts. Parker's allowed just nine earned runs over 46 innings in that span, good for a 1.76 ERA, and he was particularly impressive in his last outing, striking out a career-high nine batters Wednesday against the Mariners.

In that start against Seattle, Parker allowed just one run, marking the ninth time in his first 13 career starts that the right-hander allowed one earned run or less. The only other pitcher to do so since 1918 is Dwight Gooden, who was a rookie phenom for the Mets in 1984.

"That's a nice stat," A's manager Bob Melvin said after Parker's last start. "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."

The first of Parker's four wins this season came against the Red Sox on May 1, the team he'll face on Monday.

Boston was on a roll before opening a four-game series against the Mariners last Thursday, winning 11 of 14 games. But then the Red Sox lost two of the first three games in walk-off fashion to Seattle, the last-place team in the AL West. Boston's loss on Saturday was particularly frustrating, as the Red Sox had 11 hits but went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in a 3-2 loss.

"I thought we had some opportunities and it was just one of those nights," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said on Saturday. "We couldn't find the hole and didn't come up with the big one."

The Red Sox did salvage a split with a 2-1, 10th-inning win on Sunday, giving them some momentum heading into the series in Oakland. They'll try to build some more by besting Parker in Monday's opener.

A's: Colon expected to start Tuesday
• After injured right-hander Bartolo Colon's bullpen session on Saturday went well, Melvin said that he hopes the pitcher will return to the team to start on Tuesday, the day he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.

Colon's been on the DL since June 18 with a strained right oblique. It was originally feared he may have to miss an extended period of time, but it appears he will return sooner than anticipated.

• Left-hander Brett Anderson threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday and mixed in breaking balls for the first time in his rehab from Tommy John surgery last July. The A's hope that Anderson will be able to come back and make several starts before the season is over.

Red Sox: Matsuzaka hopes to build off last start
• After making his best start of the season in his last outing, right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will hope to go deeper into the game when he starts for the Red Sox on Monday. Matsuzaka allowed one run Tuesday against Toronto and lasted just 5 2/3 innings.

• Outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury both took steps toward their eventual return to the team over the weekend. Crawford, who hasn't played this season due to left wrist surgery and a sprained left elbow, flew back to Boston on Sunday to be re-examined by team doctors. He could move from the Gulf Coast League to a different affiliate Monday.

Ellsbury, who's coming back from a partially dislocated right shoulder, was scheduled to play his third Gulf Coast League game on Monday and could be moved to Double-A on Tuesday.

• Designated hitter David Ortiz said on Sunday that he wouldn't participate in this year's Home Run Derby. Ortiz won the Derby two years ago and was a captain for the AL team last season.

Worth noting
• A's outfielder Josh Reddick entered Monday with 18 home runs. He's the first Athletic with at least that number of homers at the end of June since Nick Swisher, who had 19 in 2006.

• Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles was out of the team's lineup on Sunday due to sickness, but he entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth after Will Middlebrooks tweaked his left hamstring.

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