The Japanese right-hander will try to beat the Oakland Athletics for the second time this season when the teams conclude their three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Carl Crawford tripled and homered during a 10-run first inning, and Scott Kazmir won his second straight start as the Devil Rays beat the Athletics 14-6 on Wednesday. Tampa Bay set a team record for runs scored in the first inning and was one shy of the club mark for any frame, set in the eighth inning of a 14-4 win over Seattle on May 28, 2000.
“That was as fine a first inning as I’ve ever seen,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “Crawford got us started. Everybody was involved. I don’t remember seeing an inning like that to start a ballgame.”
Nomo beat the A’s in his first start of the season on April 9, limiting them to one run and one hit over six innings in Tampa Bay’s 11-2 victory. He struck out four and walked two. The only blemish that day was a solo homer by Mark Kotsay.
“He was just awesome,” Devil Rays catcher Toby Hall said. “It was fun to catch him.”
However, Nomo is winless since April 19, going 0-3 with a 6.81 ERA over his last six outings. He gave up seven runs and eight hits over five innings in a 7-6 loss to Florida on Friday.
“The problem was control, just not hitting his spots,” Hall said.
Facing the struggling A’s could be just what Nomo needs. Oakland, which held a players-only meeting before batting practice, has lost four straight and 13 of 16.
“I guess you could say it didn’t work,” Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez said of the meeting. “We’re just going through a bad time and we’ve all just got to pull out of it. Right now, as we’re getting our licking, you’ve got to keep your head up and keep going. You can’t quit.”
The Athletics are 11 games below .500 for the first time since finishing the 1998 season with a 74-88 record.
Oakland right-hander Danny Haren will also be looking for his first win in more than five weeks. He is 0-5 with 6.89 ERA in six starts since beating Texas on April 18.