Barry Zito’s mental approach helped him get through the longest winless drought of his career.
“That’s what I learned last year,” Zito said after ending an eight-start skid with a 3-2 victory over Seattle on Sunday. “I can’t let what I do dictate the person I am. A lot of guys get caught up in that. I’m the same person everyday. That really contributes to my peace of mind.”
Zito went winless in his first five outings this year, surrendering at least four runs in all but one of those starts. However, he finally seemed to put it together against the Mariners, yielding two runs and five hits over seven solid innings, striking out one without a walk.
The win was Zito’s first since Sept. 12.
“The pieces are starting to come together,” Zito said. “It’s always nice to get a win. But the process is more important than the results.”
The A’s haven’t won since Zito’s victory, suffering a three-game sweep to Texas to close out a 2-4 homestand.
The Yankees have been even worse of late, dropping seven of nine, including the final three of their four-game series at Tampa Bay. With Thursday’s 6-2 loss, New York slipped into a last-place tie with the Devil Rays in the AL East, falling eight games back of first-place Baltimore.
New York has lost four consecutive series to plunge seven games below .500 for the first time since July 18, 1995, when it was 33-40.
Manager Joe Torre held a team meeting before Thursday’s game, urging his $200 million club to “ignore yesterday” and focus on the present as it tries to fight its way out of its toughest stretch in a decade.
“We talked about what we need to do. We need to win ballgames. The only way you do that is to try to ignore yesterday,” Torre said.