Kazmir leads A’s into opener with Rangers

(SportsNetwork.com) – Scott Kazmir tries to get the Oakland Athletics back
into the win column on Friday when he takes the hill in the opener of a three-
game series with the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark.

Kazmir was as good as any pitcher in the league in April, going 2-0, while
allowing just three earned runs (0.99 ERA) with 30 strikeouts over 27 1/3

The 31-year-old left-hander did not get a decision last Friday against
Houston, despite another terrific showing that saw him strike out seven and
allow five hits over seven scoreless innings.

“It’s a shame that (Kazmir) doesn’t have a couple more wins,” said A’s manager
Bob Melvin. “Every time he goes out there, we feel like we have a good chance
to win, even if we’re not squaring the bats well. Didn’t give him enough when
he was out there.”

Kazmir has faced the Rangers 19 times and is 10-5 against them with a 3.12

Oakland nearly stole a win on Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels, but a
furious rally fell short thanks to a tremendous game-saving catch from Mike
Trout in the A’s 6-5 loss.

The A’s fell behind by six runs, but managed to pull within one with three in
the ninth. Then with two outs and the bases loaded Ike Davis crushed a 1-2
offering to the warning track in center, but Trout tracked it the whole way
and caught the ball at its highest point before giving a celebratory fist

“He’s really good,” Davis said of Trout. “We hit a lot of balls hard that were
caught. That’s a recipe for losing, when you hit doubles that are caught and
you hit them right at people.”

Jesse Chavez (0-2) gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings for the
A’s, who have dropped six of seven overall.

Texas, meanwhile, is also reeling after getting swept in a three-game series
by the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers have now lost six of their last seven and
occupy the cellar in the American League West at 7-14.

Rangers’ starters have gone 0-6 with 4.26 ERA in their last 10 games.

Hoping to reverse their fortunes on Friday will be righty Colby Lewis, who has
lost his last two starts and is 1-2 on the season with a 3.75 ERA. Lewis’
latest defeat came in Anaheim on Saturday, as the Angels reached him for two
runs and four hits in five innings.

Lewis is 9-4 lifetime versus the A’s with a 3.15 ERA in 23 games (21 starts).

These teams split a four-game set to start the year.