CLEVELAND (AP) — Jarrod Parker’s neck was already sore before the game.
Then the Indians twisted it a little.
Parker gave up four solo homers, two to Asdrubal Cabrera and a 460-foot shot by Mark Reynolds that nearly cleared the left-field bleachers, to help Cleveland pound the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Monday night for its seventh win in eight games.
Parker (1-5) was in trouble right away, giving up back-to-back homers in the first inning to Jason Kipnis and Cabrera. Then, in the fifth, he allowed Cabrera’s second homer and the monster shot to Reynolds, who wanted payback after he was drilled by the right-hander in the first.
Following the game, Parker said his neck has been issue.
“It’s something that’s been bothering me for a little bit,” he said. “Obviously, those are pitches up in the zone. They’re semi-uncharacteristic. I don’t think, if I’m feeling 100 percent, they would be in that location.”
Parker has now given up eight homers in 34 1/3 innings. Last season, he allowed just 11 in 181 1/3 innings.
“It’s not like him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s a guy you don’t expect to get hit. Sometimes he’s a little bit wild, but I would say the amount of home runs he’s given up is not him. He’s had a couple of good starts. He’s had some bad starts. He hasn’t got to where he’s consistent yet. A lot of that can be confidence, too.”
Cleveland’s four homers off Parker backed Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2), who had his second straight solid outing. Jimenez struck out a season-high eight in 5 2/3 innings.
Jason Giambi hit a clutch, two-run single and Ryan Raburn doubled home a run in the seventh for the Indians, who had their six-game winning streak stopped Sunday.
Yoenis Cespedes homered and hit a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who had won eight in a row over the Indians but fell behind early and dropped to 6-11 after a 12-4 start.
Parker’s hoping his neck improves, but realizes he may need to take some time off.
“We’ll see how it feels and go from there,” he said. “If need be, it’s early, and it’s something we don’t want to continue and snowball and build into something worse. It’s not something I want to keep dealing with.”
Jimenez pitched seven shutout innings in his previous start last week at Kansas City. It was the type of performance the Indians have been waiting to see from the right-hander, who has been a major disappointment since coming over in a 2011 trade from Colorado.
Jimenez slowed down the A’s, who came in leading the majors in runs, doubles and extra-base hits. Jimenez allowed two runs and four hits.
Cleveland clouted the four solo shots — they lead the AL with 44 homers — totaling 1,581 feet off Parker.
The Indians gave Jimenez a quick 2-0 lead, jumping on Parker in their first at-bat as Kipnis and Cabrera hit their back-to-back homers.
Kipnis hit his third homer into the left-field seats, and Cabrera followed with a rocket that skipped off the roof of Cleveland’s bullpen in center. One out later, Parker drilled Reynolds and plate umpire Angel Hernandez warned both benches before things escalated.
Jimenez didn’t need to buzz any Oakland hitters. He was too busy blowing fastballs past them. He recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in the third, when he fanned the side.
Cespedes connected in the fourth for his sixth homer to bring the A’s within 2-1.
Jimenez, who has had a tendency to unravel at the first sign of trouble, settled down and struck out three in a row and carried a tenuous one-run lead into the bottom of the fifth.
That’s when Cabrera and Reynolds teed off on Parker. Cabrera led off with his second homer of the night, a high fly that looked like a routine out but carried over the right-field fence.
One out later, Reynolds delivered his no-doubt-about-it blast that landed three rows from the top of the left-field bleachers. Reynolds’ long homer caused several Indians players to lean over the dugout railing and point to where they thought the ball touched down.
“I have no history with the guy at all,” said Reynolds, who was in Arizona’s organization at the same time as Parker. “I was on a mission right there to hit a ball as far as I could. That’s kind of payback for hitting me.”
Reynolds’ 10th homer this season nearly cleared the left-field bleachers, slamming into the aluminum bleachers not far from where longtime drummer John Adams pounds away on his big bass drum. The shot was reminiscent of the one Mark McGwire hit in 1997, a blast that caromed off the left-field scoreboard.
“Unbelievable,” Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi said of Reynolds’ blast. “I was here for the McGwire one, and this one was just as majestic.”
The A’s pulled within 4-2 in the sixth on Cespedes’ sacrifice fly and loaded the bases with two outs before manager Terry Francona pulled Jimenez for Nick Hagadone. The left-hander, recalled before the game when Vinnie Pestano went on the 15-day disabled list, struck out Josh Reddick on three pitches.
After looking at strike three, a disgusted Reddick flipped the bat behind his head and was shooed into the dugout by Hernandez, who probably had every right to toss him.
NOTES: The A’s are 13-3 against the AL West and 5-12 against everyone else. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson, on the DL with a sprained ankle, could rejoin the team in the next few days to throw a bullpen session if he continues to progress. ... A’s OF Seth Smith is in a 3-for-18 slump and has been battling tonsillitis. Melvin praised Smith for playing sick. “I was just trying not to shake his hand, I didn’t want to get it,” Melvin joked. “He’s a tough guy.”