“He got to me,” Kielty said. “I thought at some point he’d come in with a fastball. He got two strikes on me and he probably tried to sneak one in there. I just happened to guess right. If he throws any other pitch there I strike out.”
Kielty, who had three hits in his last start, has had some success against Kazmir. He has seven hits, including two homers, in 13 at bats against the left-hander.
“I’ve just been feeling good lately,” he said. “Playing here and there, it’s tough to get locked in, but I’ve been able to keep myself somewhat fresh and have some good at-bats.”
Kazmir (10-8) lasted five innings in his first start since July 23, giving up three runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked two, failing in his fourth try at a career-high 11th win.
“Everything felt good from the start,” Kazmir said. “I wasn’t overthrowing; my command wasn’t all there. I already know (the shoulder) is fine. I’m not going to worry about throwing tomorrow and seeing how it feels. I know it’s going to be good.”
Dan Haren (10-9) gave up two runs, one earned, and five hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight start. He struck out seven and walked one. Haren has issued two or fewer walks in 23 of his 25 starts.
The A’s bounced back from their worst shutout loss Wednesday, a 14-0 setback to the Rangers, to win their seventh in eight games. The Devil Rays lost their fourth straight and are 1-13 on the road since the All-Star break.
Kazmir looked strong early, retiring the first eight hitters, five by strikeouts.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He maintained his velocity. He was at 85 or so pitches and we didn’t want him throwing 100 pitches in six innings, so that’s why we took him out.”
The A’s, who beat him for the first time in five tries, were happy to see Kazmir out of the game.
“He’s going to be one of the premier pitchers in this league,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “He has quite an arm. He didn’t lose any velocity. I think he just ran out of gas a little bit.”
Frank Thomas singled in a run in the fourth and Kielty’s fifth homer of the season put the A’s in front 3-2.
“That was quite a turnaround in the fifth,” Macha said. “There were two outs and nobody on. Jason works the walk and Kielty hits it out.”
Haren settled down after the Devil Rays scored their second run, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters. He did not allow a runner past first base in his final four innings.
“It’s rough opening the game and the guy hits a solo home run,” Haren said. “I was fighting myself early, but I found myself there in the third. My fastball was all over the place, but Jason kept calling more fastballs, and eventually I found the release point and I was able to attack the hitters.”
Jonny Gomes was 2-for-4 for Tampa Bay. Gomes, from nearby Petaluma, Calif., had five hits in his previous 77 at-bats since the All-Star break. It was his first multihit game since July 9.
The Devil Rays’ Carl Crawford went hitless in his third straight game for just the third time this season. He has not gone longer without a hit in consecutive starts since a four-game streak between Aug. 14-18, 2004.
Baldelli hit just his second home run since July 1. … A’s LHP Scott Sauerbeck was activated from the DL. … Thomas is within four RBIs of tying Joe DiMaggio (1,537) for 39th on baseball’s career list. … The A’s have scored 516 runs, worst in the AL except the Devil Ray’s 506. … Kielty is 7-for-13 with two home runs against Kazmir. … Haren is 5-1 against the AL East in seven starts.