BALTIMORE. Md. -- Oakland designated hitter Coco Crisp was looking to start something when he led off the ninth inning of a 1-1 game Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
Instead, he essentially finished things.
Crisp hit a solo home run in the ninth and Jarrod Parker pitched eight strong innings to win his eighth straight decision as the Athletics beat Baltimore 2-1.
Oakland (72-56) snapped a three-game losing streak and moved three games ahead of the Orioles (69-59) for the second American League wild-card spot.
"It always feels nice to hit the ball hard," Crisp said. "It's obviously a little more special when it's a home run. I tried to bunt. I tried to walk. But I was still holding the bat and I tried to get a pitch I could hit."
Facing reliever Darren O'Day (5-3), Crisp hit a 3-1 slider over the scoreboard in right to give Oakland its first lead of the day. Nine of Crisp's 13 home runs have put the A's ahead and he's homered in three straight games.
"Once he starts swinging the bat, we seem to follow along," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There weren't too many hard hit balls today and there weren't too many good swings today. The problem with Coco is that you don't want to walk him because you're looking at a potential stolen base."
Jed Lowrie added a run-scoring double and a single for the A's.
Ryan Flaherty's solo home run accounted for the Orioles' run.
One day after the teams combined for 19 hits in a 9-7 Orioles win, pitching prevailed as Parker and Baltimore's Chris Tillman dueled through the eighth inning.
"Good thing there are pitch counts for both those guys or that game might have gone on for a while," Melvin said. "Both those guys were dominant today. It was good to reward Jarrod because he pitched as well as you can pitch."
Parker (10-6) allowed a run on five hits while striking out five, and pitched out of trouble with the score tied in the eighth.
"You're in a 1-1 game and you know you made one mistake (giving up the run) and that mistake could be the difference in a loss or a no-decision," Parker said. "If you're able to limit it to one, you know you did a pretty good job. I want to go out there and give up no runs."
Nate McLouth, who had two hits, led off the eighth with a single to left and went to second on Manny Machado's sacrifice. After Chris Davis was walked intentionally, Adam Jones grounded into a fielder's choice, barely beating the relay throw at first base.
With runners at the corners, Matt Wieters grounded out to end the threat.
Parker lowered his earned run average to 3.58 and hasn't lost since May 22 at Texas.
"You could tell very early on that Parker was carrying really good stuff and that runs were going to be at a premium," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced, to earn his 32nd save.
Tillman, in his fourth attempt at notching his 15th victory, threw 115 pitches over eight innings. He allowed a run on three hits, while tying a career high with nine strikeouts and walking two.
"Got to see two guys at the top of their game. August, September baseball. That was pretty impressive to watch," Showalter said.
The A's didn't get a hit until Lowrie's one-out single in the fourth.
Parker retired the first seven Orioles he faced before designated hitter Flaherty golfed a 1-1 pitch over the scoreboard in right to make it 1-0.
The A's tied it in the sixth. Kurt Suzuki, playing his first game since being traded back to Oakland by the Nationals, doubled down the left-field line with one out.
Suzuki went to third on a ground out by Crisp and scored on Lowrie's double.
NOTES: Lowrie has hit safely in six straight games. ... Yoenis Cespedes is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in the first two games against Baltimore. ... Machado leads the majors with 44 doubles. ... Oakland RF Josh Reddick returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game because of a sprained right wrist. ... A's RHP Bartolo Colon, on the disabled list since Aug. 18 (strained groin), will join the team Monday in Detroit and throw a bullpen session. ... A's RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 1.44) will face Scott Feldman (3-3, 4.84) in Sunday's series finale.