Devil Rays 11, Athletics 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Barry Zito is looking ahead to his next start instead of obsessing about his bad outing.
Phelps and Huff homered during a seven-run second that put Tampa Bay ahead 7-0. The Devil Rays started the inning with five consecutive hits off Zito (0-2), who gave up a career-high 11 runs in just 3 1-3 innings.
“I’m already looking forward to my next start,” Zito said. “You can’t lump the games together. It’s all over tonight.”
The seven runs were the most Zito has ever allowed in an inning. The left-hander, who gave up six runs twice before, allowed seven hits and three walks, and continued his April struggles. Despite a career record of 72-42, he is 10-11 in the first month of the season.
In his first two starts this season, Zito has allowed 15 runs and 13 hits spanning 9 1-3 innings.
“I’m trying to be too fine,” Zito said. “I need to attack the strike zone. I tried to nibble too much.”
Hideo Nomo (1-0) won his Tampa Bay debut, giving up one run and one hit in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“He was just awesome,” Devil Rays catcher Toby Hall said. “It was fun to catch him.”
Nomo went 4-11 with an 8.25 ERA in 18 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, and was on the disabled list twice with finger and shoulder injuries. Tampa Bay signed the right-hander as a free agent in January.
The Devil Rays limited the Athletics to just three hits—including two homers. Mark Kotsay hit a solo shot off Nomo in the third, and Keith Ginter added a solo homer off reliever Lance Carter in the eighth for Oakland’s runs.
Eduardo Perez had an infield single and went to second on Hall’s single. Joey Gathright bunted and reached safely to load the bases when third baseman Eric Chavez was charged with an error for a bad throw.
“Barry let a couple of guys on, and this place turned into Coors Field,” Oakland catcher Jason Kendall said. “Barry’s got about 33 starts left to go this year. He’ll get on track.”
Crawford extended the Tampa Bay lead to 8-1 with an RBI single in the fourth. Crawford stole second and third before Zito loaded the bases on walks to Alex Gonzalez and Huff.
“One of our better offense games since I’ve been here against a real good pitcher,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.
Keiichi Yabu replaced Zito and gave up a two-run single to Lugo, and an RBI double to Phelps.
Nomo retired 17 of his final 18 batters, and is now three wins short off 200 combined for his Japanese and major league careers.
“It felt real good to contribute,” Nomo said through an interpreter. “Because we scored a lot of runs, it made it easier. It’s a lot of fun to go out there when you score a lot of runs.”
Zito also had a batted ball go off his right shin, but said he has no pain and is OK. … Zito allowed nine runs in four innings against Anaheim on April 23, 2004. … Yabu became the first Japanese player to pitch for Oakland. The 11-year veteran in Japan signed with the Athletics in January. … Nomo made his 300th major league start. The rest of Tampa Bay’s rotation has 213. … Tampa Bay stole five bases through the fourth inning, equaling the team record for a nine-inning game. … Kotsay went 1-for-1 with a walk, ending his season-opening streak of four straight multihit games. Bobby Kielty pinch-hit for Kotsay in the sixth with the Athletics trailing by 10 runs.