DETROIT -- Jarrod Parker certainly wasn't satisfied, but A's manager Bob Melvin thought his Game 1 rookie starter acquitted himself quite well Saturday night in his first-ever playoff start.
Parker just happened to be opposing Justin Verlander, one of the best pitchers in baseball at the top of his game in a 3-1 Detroit Tigers victory that presented the young Oakland right-hander very little margin for error.
Parker really only made three mistakes -- a leadoff double to Austin Jackson in the first inning, a fielding misplay on an infield chunker that allowed a run to score in the third and a solo home run to Alex Avila in the fifth.
"Jarrod pitched well," Melvin said. "(The misplay) was one run. Another one scored on a double play, and then he got a pitch up and out over the plate to Alex, and those are the three runs."
The most costly mistake was Parker's desperate attempt to get out of the third inning unscathed with the score tied 1-1. Omar Infante had hit a one-out double, but Parker got Jackson on an infield pop-up for the second out.
Quintin Berry hit a dribbler between the mound and first base, and Parker tried to scoop the ball with his glove and get to the base before the speedy Berry. But in his haste, Parker flipped the ball out of his glove into foul territory behind first base for an error, and Infante scored on the miscue.
It appeared as if Parker might have been flipping the ball to first base hoping Brandon Moss was there covering, but both he and Moss said that wasn't the case.
"No, I was just trying to pick the ball up and go to the base," he said. "That's something we practice every day in spring, and I consider myself pretty athletic. It just came out of my glove."
Said Moss, "I stayed where I was, because if it gets by him, he has to cover first, and I have to field the ball. It was just an infield hit. ... It was just one of those plays where everything has to go right, and it didn't."
Parker pitched 61/3 innings, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out five. On most nights, that probably would have been good enough to get a win. But not on this night against Verlander.
"You have to try to get to Verlander early and nick him up," Parker said. "We ran his pitch count up pretty high, but he kept at it. After giving up that home run (Coco Crisp's leading off the game), he didn't give us any more chances."
Parker said he tried not to view the game as a head-to-head match against the Tigers' ace.
"I'm not pitching against Verlander," he said. "I'm focused on the guys in the box, not the guy on the other side on the mound."
Parker was happy with the way he handled the pressure of a Game 1 playoff start in the opponent's ballpark.
"I tried to stay within myself, remain composed and just battle," he said. "I was glad to get the first inning over with. Once I got the double play (against likely American League MVP Miguel Cabrera) to minimize damage, that was big to just kind of settle in and relax a little bit.
"Unfortunately, I didn't have my best stuff today."
The home run to No. 8 hitter Avila, he said, was simply a bad pitch.
"It was supposed to be a sinker down," he said, "and it didn't really sink."