Despite pitching well enough to win in his last start, Zito was hit with a loss in a 3-1 defeat at San Francisco on Sunday. He gave up just two earned runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings.
“I thought I pitched pretty well,” Zito said. “I don’t worry about the lack of support. I just focus on the process.”
The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner was trying to bounce back after allowing a career-high seven walks in Oakland’s 7-5 loss to Boston in his previous start on May 17.
The A’s are hoping that facing an Indians team he has a 3-1 record with an 0.96 ERA against can help.
Oakland has lost five straight, including 2-1 in the series finale at Tampa Bay on Thursday. The A’s are a season-high 12 games under .500—the furthest they have been under .500 since they finished the 1998 season at 74-88.
“There’s not a person in the clubhouse that’s not frustrated or embarrassed by the way we’ve been playing,” Jason Kendall said. “At the same time, we’re not going to go out and throw in the towel. We’ve got four months left. Scratch and claw until we get out of it. It’s all you can do.”
Cleveland is coming off splitting a tightly contested four-game series with AL Central rival Minnesota, including a 5-4 defeat in 11 innings Thursday night.
The Indians were limited to four hits in the final five innings of the third straight extra-inning game in the series.
Jody Gerut had three hits for Cleveland, which had 16—including at least one hit in every inning—but still dropped to 7-13 in one-run games.
Indians third baseman Aaron Boone made two fielding errors, failed to bunt a runner over in the eighth and popped out on the first pitch with a runner on in the 10th.
“We have to do a better job of executing the little things,” said Boone, who was booed following his errors and fruitless at-bats. “We’ve got to execute, period. We’ve got to get the job done.”