Scott Kazmir’s star is shining more brightly with every start.
The 21-year-old left-hander has made big strides since his major league debut with the Devil Rays last August. He leads Tampa Bay starters with 168 innings, 160 strikeouts and a 3.85 ERA.
Kazmir did not receive a decision in the Devil Rays’ 3-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday, allowing an unearned run and six hits in seven innings while striking out a career-high 11.
“I felt like I got into a groove right in the beginning,” Kazmir said. “I just kept attacking hitters.”
Kazmir has the most strikeouts by an AL rookie since C.C. Sabathia had 171 for Cleveland in 2001. He’s struck out 10 or more three times this year.
The Devil Rays have lost five of six, and are coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees. Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer, but Tampa Bay squandered a four-run lead in Thursday’s 9-5 loss.
Baltimore had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
The Orioles carried a 6-3 advantage into the ninth before Jorge Julio, the team’s former closer, blew the save opportunity.
“Nobody’s perfect in baseball,” Julio said. “I want to help the team. I’m trying to do my job. It’s been a bad year for me this year.”
Julio, who had 22 saves for Baltimore last season, was on the mound because regular closer B.J. Ryan got the day off after saving the previous four games.