Even worse, Zito is coming off his best outing of the young season.
The star left-hander will try to build on his first shutout of the season as the Oakland Athletics resume a three-game series with the hapless Tigers at Network Associates Coliseum.
Zito, who suffered his first loss of the year in an 8-2 setback at Anaheim on April 13, bounced back in a big way Friday, scattering six hits and striking out six while walking one in his fourth career shutout, a 9-0 win over the Texas Rangers.
Zito improved to 22-1 in his last 31 starts at the Coliseum.
“I prepared and really beared down for this start, because it never feels good to lose after you’ve won a few,” said Zito, who had a career-best 10-game winning streak snapped by the Angels.
The Tigers rallied for five runs over the final two innings Tuesday, sending the series opener into extra innings. But their good fortune wouldn’t last long as Miguel Tejada sent Detroit to its 17th loss in 18 games with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th.
The 6-5 setback dropped the Tigers to 0-10 on the road this season, and 0-7 on what is shaping up as a nightmarish 12-game trip. Detroit has lost three of its last four by one run, including consecutive defeats in its opponents’ final at-bat.
Detroit’s dismal start is the worst in baseball since Baltimore began 0-21 in 1988.
The A’s have won three of four following a 1-7 slide.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 14 GB, AL Central. Athletics - 2nd place, 1 GB, AL West.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Jeremy Bonderman (0-3, 10.22 ERA). The 20-year-old right-hander has been battered for 14 earned runs over 12 1-3 innings in his first three major league starts. On Thursday, Bonderman showed some progress despite suffering his third straight loss. He surrendered four runs—three earned—and 10 hits over six innings, striking out four and walking one, in a 6-0 setback at Minnesota. The offensively challenged Tigers have managed just 2.3 runs per game in Bonderman’s starts.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Zito (3-1, 3.00 ERA). Zito is 3-3 with a 2.77 ERA in three career starts against Detroit. However, two of those losses have come at home.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Ramon Santiago, .240 avg.; Eric Munson, 2 HRs and 8 RBIs; Bobby Higginson, 7 runs; Santiago, Higginson and Shane Halter, 1 SBs. Athletics - Ramon Hernandez, .404 avg.; Terrence Long, 5 HRs; Erubiel Durazo, 21 RBIs; Durazo and Eric Chavez, 14 runs; Chavez, 2 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - The Tigers have lost seven of eight to the A’s dating to last season. … The 1920, 1953, 1959 and 2002 Tigers began 3-15— the previous worst 18-game start in franchise history. … RHP Bonderman began his career with the A’s organization, but was traded to Detroit last July. Athletics - SS Tejada had stranded 10 runners and committed an error that led to an unearned run that tied the game in the ninth before his game-winning homer Tuesday. The reigning AL MVP is hitting a paltry .174. … Reserve INF Frank Menechino got his first hit of the season Tuesday, snapping an 0-for-8 drought. … 3B Chavez was a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup with an inflamed left shoulder that has bothered him since spring training. An MRI exam on the shoulder came back negative.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 0-10 on the road; Athletics - 8-2 at home.