Zito, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA last year. He has already lost a career high-tying eight games this season, including Wednesday’s 6-0 setback at Seattle.
The 6-foot-4 southpaw allowed four runs and three hits over six innings, while striking out five and walking a season-high six, for his third straight loss. Zito is winless in his last four starts, and has just one victory in nine outings since early June.
“I’m not happy about it, but then again I’m not going to focus on it,” Zito said. “It’s in the past.”
Washburn, who posted an 18-6 mark while leading the Angels to their first World Series title in 2002, is coming off consecutive poor outings, including Wednesday’s embarrassing 12-9 loss to Texas.
Washburn was knocked around for a career-high 10 runs in a season-low 3 1-3 innings.
“I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing on the mound right now,” Washburn admitted. “I didn’t hit a spot all night. I made a lot of mistakes and every mistake I made, they made me pay for. Right now, I’m as bad as I could possibly get.”
Oakland right-hander Tim Hudson didn’t experience any difficulty Sunday, tossing a four-hitter as the A’s cruised to a 10-1 rout of the struggling Angels.
Scott Hatteberg belted a pair of homers for Oakland, which has won four in a row and six of seven since entering the All-Star break on a four-game skid.
Anaheim is in danger of suffering its first four-game home sweep to Oakland since Oct. 4-7, 2001. The defending champions have lost nine of 11 since entering the All-Star break with a five-game winning streak.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL West. Angels - 3rd place, 11 1/2 GB, AL West.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Zito (8-8, 3.34 ERA). Zito is 8-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 13 career starts against the Angels. He suffered his first loss of the season at Anaheim on April 8, surrendering seven runs and eight hits over five innings in an 8-2 defeat.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Washburn (8-10, 4.92 ERA). Washburn is 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 15 starts, against the A’s. He is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two outings against Oakland this year.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .284 avg.; Eric Chavez, 19 HRs and 8 SBs.; Miguel Tejada, 61 RBIs and 60 runs. Angels - Garret Anderson, .317 avg., 23 HRs and 85 RBIs; Tim Salmon, 57 runs; Adam Kennedy, 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 6-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - SS Tejada is riding an 11-game hitting streak. He snapped a 26-game homerless drought with a two-run shot Sunday. … The A’s are 8-0 this season when 1B Hatteberg homers, and 20-2 during his two years with the club … INF Frank Menechino, who was in New York to attend his grandfather’s funeral, was removed from the bereavement list Sunday and INF Esteban German was returned to Triple-A Sacramento. Angels - Anaheim is below .500 for the first time since May 27, when it was 38-39. … LHP Washburn is 3-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 10 home starts this year. … OF Anderson is hitting .364 (12-for-33) with two homers and six RBIs in his career against LHP Zito.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 24-28 on the road; Angels - 29-23 at home.
INJURIES: Athletics - OF Jermaine Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL. Angels - 1B-DH Brad Fullmer (knee), 15-day DL; 3B Troy Glaus (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL.