Kazmir goes on attack in return to dominance
Winless over his last six starts, A's lefty allows one hit over eight innings for win
OAKLAND -- In his past few starts, Scott Kazmir admitted he entered each game throwing the ball as hard as he could, and as a result he didn't hit his location as often as he's grown accustomed to over the years.
On Thursday, in the A's 7-0 win over the Rangers at the Coliseum, Kazmir took a more patient approach and allowed just one hit over eight innings.
"I was just attacking the strike zone for the most part, keeping them off balance," Kazmir said. "I felt like I was in control out there."
Kazmir entered the game 0-4 with a 4.85 ERA and .299 opponents batting average over his last six starts. But on Thursday, he dominated from start to finish in his best performance of the season.
The lone hit off Kazmir, who struck out six, was a one-out single up the middle by Elvis Andrus in the fifth. Kazmir walked two, and otherwise retired all Rangers he faced.
"One mistake I think he made all day," Josh Reddick said, "and it ended up being a single. He kept a really good lineup on its toes. I bet he wishes he didn't make that one pitch, but he'll take a one-hitter in eight innings every time."
Kazmir also benefited from a pair of superb defensive plays by Billy Burns in center field -- a fully horizontal diving grab in the sixth and a twisting, turning catch at the wall in the eighth.
"That's unbelievable," Kazmir said. "That right there gets you going as a pitcher. Someone makes a play like that, you just want to go out there and return the favor and get those guys back into the dugout.
A's manager Bob Melvin said Kazmir didn't get too amped up or force anything early in the game. His fastball reached 95 mph in the seventh, and he pitched in command with runners on base.
"He just kind of went with the flow … and really revved it up as he went along," Melvin said.
The A's held a slim 1-0 lead for Kazmir going into the bottom of the eighth, but they quickly gave him a heap of support. Mark Canha and Reddick each homered, spotting the A's a considerable cushion as part of a six-run frame.
The offense came alive when it had to, but Kazmir kept the Rangers off the board and got back in the win column.