Oakland starter Esteban Loaiza hopes he’s regaining the form that nearly earned him a Cy Young Award three years ago.
Loaiza looks to build on his first complete game since 2004 when the Athletics continue their three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday at McAfee Coliseum.
Loaiza (3-4, 6.34 ERA) allowed six hits in a complete-game, 10-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. The complete game was the 13th of his career and first since May 9, 2004, when he threw eight innings in a 5-2 loss to Toronto while with the Chicago White Sox.
His last complete-game victory came on April 18, 2004, a 5-0 win over Tampa Bay.
“It feels great,” Loaiza said. “I still can’t believe it. … It had been a long time. Two years is like 70 starts.”
Loaiza has gone 3-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts since a stint on the disabled list with a left shoulder and back strain. On Sunday, he gave up all four runs in the first four innings, capped by Steve Finley’s solo homer, but settled down nicely thereafter.
“It’s called making an adjustment,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “He has the reputation that if you don’t get him early, you won’t get him.”
Loaiza won 21 games in 2003 for the White Sox, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award voting. However, he won just 22 games over the next two seasons for Chicago, the New York Yankees and Washington before Oakland signed him as a free agent in November.
Loaiza is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA in five career appearances, including four starts, against the Diamondbacks.
Oakland (42-37) lost for the fourth time in six games on Friday, falling 6-4 to Arizona in the series opener. Mark Ellis, who was activated from the DL earlier in the day along with designated hitter Frank Thomas, drove in a pair of runs, and Adam Melhuse added two RBIs.
Despite the loss, the A’s finished June with an 18-8 record after going 12-17 in May.
Eric Byrnes, who played for Oakland from 2000-2005, scored the go-ahead run for the Diamondbacks (38-42), who won for just the fourth time in 24 games. Arizona, which suffered a three-game sweep to Seattle coming into this series, snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 2-11 in interleague play.
Miguel Batista (7-5, 5.21) will look to keep the Diamondbacks rolling. He allowed six runs and seven hits and threw three wild pitches in seven innings, but got credit for the win in Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, ending a personal three-start losing streak.
Batista has allowed 23 runs and 36 hits in 22 1-3 innings in his last four outings.
“I may lead the league in hits allowed, but how many guys hit the ball to the wall,” said Batista, who is currently among the league leaders in the category. “I gave up seven hits and the home run, but how many other balls did they hit off the wall?”
Batista has made 12 career appearances, including five starts, against the A’s, going 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA and two saves.
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