Oakland (15-16) at Detroit (15-16)

Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 34° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 11, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

One of Oakland’s “Big Three” finally got a win.

Now the Athletics are looking for more success as Barry Zito takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series against the surprising Detroit Tigers.

The trio of Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder went 14 games without a victory— the longest stretch for the threesome since Zito joined the rotation as a rookie in 2000— before Mulder ended the slide with an 8-4 home win over Minnesota on Sunday. Their last win was April 22, when Mulder beat the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field 8-2.

“When one or a couple of us starts pitching well, the staff kind of follows that path,” Hudson said. “We’ve been struggling, largely because the three of us haven’t been at top form. Hopefully this will get us going.”

Zito, 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA in his last three starts, showed improvement in his last outing though the A’s lost 4-3 to the visiting New York Yankees on Wednesday. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs—both solo homers—and six hits in six innings while striking out six. The left-hander had given up a career-high four home runs in his previous start, a 7-5 loss at New York on April 29.

“I just got back to the game plan I’ve had success with in the past,” said Zito, who was 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in six spring training starts.

Oakland has won three of four after dropping nine of 11.

After dropping four in a row, the Tigers took two of three at Texas with Sunday’s 5-3 decision.

Alex Sanchez hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning as Detroit bounced back from Saturday’s 16-15, 10 inning loss in which it blew a 10-run lead.

Detroit, a major league-worst 43-119 last season, has nine more victories than it did at this point in 2003.

“Two big wins, that says a lot about this club,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “We’re not a finished product, we know that, but we went out and played a solid game to win the series.”

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Starting Pitchers

B. Zito Oak vs. J. Johnson NYY
11-11 Record 8-15
4.48 ERA 5.13
163 K 125
81 BB 60
1.39 WHIP 1.43