OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scott Kazmir has given the Oakland Athletics everything they expected of the lefty as a front-line starter ready to back up a new $22 million, two-year contract.
The patient Seattle Mariners got to him in a hurry this time.
Kazmir’s winning streak dating to last season ended in a 4-2 loss to Seattle on Monday night, his first defeat since last Sept. 16 with Cleveland.
“It wasn’t my best of days,” Kazmir said. “It was more just the put-out pitches that weren’t in the location and didn’t have the action I necessarily needed.”
Kazmir allowed Stefen Romero’s first major league home run that broke a tie in the fifth just after Brandon Moss’ two-run homer in the fourth had given the A’s some momentum.
Romero is taking home a souvenir ball from Seattle’s third straight win and eighth in 10.
Chris Young (2-0) allowed two hits over six strong innings to win his second straight start. He began the year with four straight no-decisions as he came back from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss much of 2013.
The right-hander faced the minimum through three and didn’t allow a hit until Jed Lowrie’s one-out single in the fourth. Brandon Moss hit a tying two-run homer two batters later.
“He’s 6-foot-10 and he’s throwing out of the sky,” Moss said of Young. “It looks like he’s throwing soft and the radar gun says he’s throwing soft, but the way he pitches up and down, it makes it tough.”
Romero, a 25-year-old rookie, homered in his 53rd career at-bat. He is batting .306 over his last nine games.
“It was windy. I didn’t know if it was going to get out like it did,” Romero said. “I put my head down and started sprinting, just in case. Fortunately it got out.”
Moss hit his drive to right to give the A’s brief momentum only to see Romero connect in the top of the fifth for a Seattle lead. Brad Miller added an RBI single in the sixth.
Scott Kazmir (4-1), off to the best start in his career, was tagged for eight hits and four runs in six innings.
“He had his way with us for two outings in a row,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought our guys were probably a little bit more determined tonight, better at-bats, better approach. We were able to get his pitch count up a little bit.”
The A’s were without two key outfielders and hitters to begin the game with the injured Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick out of the starting lineup. Cespedes entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and stayed in the game.
Oakland did little else after Moss’ big hit and kicked off a 10-game homestand — the club’s first of three such stints at the Coliseum this season — with just its third loss in seven matchups against Seattle so far.
Young won back-to-back starts for the first time since May 19 and 24, 2009, for the Padres. He also improved to 14-6 in 29 career May starts. His April 6 outing at Oakland was his first in the majors since Sept. 29, 2012, with the New York Mets.
“You don’t see him a lot, he’s an acquired taste,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You look at the gun, it’s 85 mph, and he’s throwing the ball by guys. He was pitching down in the zone a little better today and threw a few more breaking balls than we’ve seen in the past.”
NOTES: Seattle skipper Lloyd McClendon expected to name his second starter for Wednesday’s doubleheader on Tuesday. Felix Hernandez will start one of the games. The teams must make up a game from April 4, when Oakland didn’t use a tarp through a heavy rainstorm and the field was unplayable. … Oakland RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.91 ERA) earned AL Pitcher of the Month honors for April. “Every time I take the mound, it’s fun,” Gray said. … A’s RF Reddick could miss another day as he nurses a sprained ankle suffered Sunday in Boston. Cespedes wanted to start but Melvin wanted to give him a little bit more time as he nurses a tender hamstring.
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