Homers bite Odorizzi for first time in 2016

Rays' right-hander remains winless after allowing 3 HRs to A's

May 14th, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi looked toward home plate and brushed his mouth with his right hand. He waited for Marcus Semien to round the bases after a solo home run to left-center field in the fourth inning extended the starter's rough Friday night.

The A's cracked three home runs against Odorizzi in a 6-3 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, a result that extended Tampa Bay's losing streak to four games. The power display was part of a disappointing outing for the right-hander, who surrendered five runs and seven hits with two strikeouts in four innings.

"It's baseball," Odorizzi said. "They get hits and you make a couple of bad pitches, and it costs you runs."

The long ball proved costly for Odorizzi. Before Friday, he had allowed three home runs through his first seven starts this season and no more than one in a single game. He last gave up three home runs in a contest on Sept. 4, 2015, in a loss to the Yankees in the Bronx during a start that lasted 6 2/3 innings.

Odorizzi's recent ability to avoid significant damage from home runs ended against the A's, who jumped on him for four runs in a 42-pitch first inning. Khris Davis crushed a three-run home run to left with one out, and Danny Valencia followed with a two-out solo shot to left off the C-ring catwalk.

"Two splits that weren't that good," Odorizzi said. "They were kind of identical, to be honest."

After Tampa Bay cut Oakland's lead in half with RBI singles by Steve Pearce and Steven Souza Jr. in the bottom of the first, Semien's home run added more cushion for the A's before Odorizzi's night ended. Odorizzi, who threw 97 pitches (70 for strikes), had gone at least five innings in six starts this season.

"The mistakes he made were the changeups for the home runs," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Odorizzi. "But they also had a really good approach on him, staying on the ball, not trying to do too much and getting guys on base."

Odorizzi's struggle served as a change from his recent narrative. He entered Friday seeking his first win despite a solid 3.10 ERA. Since 1990, one other American League pitcher had remained winless through at least seven starts with as low of an ERA (then-Royals right-hander Zack Greinke was 0-4 with a 2.51 ERA through seven appearances in 2010).

Late Friday, Odorizzi stood near his locker with mixed feelings about his outcome. He drew positives from his effort, but he knew Oakland took advantage of his glaring miscues.

"I was around the zone and trying to get as quick of outs as possible," he said. "I thought I did a good job of commanding the zone. … Fastball location wasn't the greatest overall. But I thought my curveball and slider were pretty good tonight."