for this game

Kazmir, Longoria power Rays past Athletics

Jul 22, 2008 - 3:34 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Scott Kazmir returned to his early-season form Monday and Evan Longoria continued to make a strong bid for Rookie of the Year.

Kazmir allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings and Longoria homered for the third consecutive game as the two All-Stars led the Tampa Bay Rays past the Oakland Athletics, 4-0.

The Rays won for the 35th time in their last 43 home games, while Oakland lost its sixth consecutive game. Longoria's homer was his 19th of the season, tops in the majors among all rookies.

"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon about Longoria's season.

Willy Aybar also homered for the Rays (58-40), who are 3-1 since the All-Star break and maintained at least a 1 1/2- game lead over Boston atop the American League East.

"I knew that's going to bolster Kazmir going into his next start," Maddon said. "He had a couple walks, but for the most part, I saw him pound the zone with the fast ball. I just thought he was more efficient."

Kazmir (8-5) was pitching for the first time since he got the victory for the American League in the All-Star Game. He only allowed a first-inning, broken-bat single to Rick Sweeney and a fourth-inning single to Jack Cust.

"We've got to keep it positive," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "The guys are getting a little bit down, struggling. Kazmir had a very solid performance."

Kazmir struck out nine and walked four - each one at the start of an inning - but allowed no runs for the first time since May 15.

"It feels great," Kazmir said. "It's long past due. It's huge that we set the tone for this series with the win."

Kazmir started the season 6-1, but had won only one of his last seven starts before Monday.

"Yeah, I was frustrated because everything feels good and it just feels like when I needed to make a pitch I just couldn't do it," Kazmir said. "I feel like I just wasn't trusting my stuff, leaving everything up and just not really getting ahead of hitters. Now it feels different."

Grant Balfour pitched a hitless eighth and J.P. Howell a perfect ninth for the Rays.

"We are running into guys throwing the ball well," Cust said. "It's just what happens, it's baseball. You run into times when you hit and times when you don't."

Oakland starter Dana Eveland (7-7) allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings. He struck out four and walked four.

"I'm still struggling to get ahead of batters and throw strikes, so I'm still working in between every start," Eveland said. "I'm busting my butt trying to get back to where it was. Hopefully it will happen soon."

Longoria's third-inning single gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Aybar homered off the left field fair pole and Akinori Iwamura added an RBI single.

Longoria's homer in the fifth capped the scoring.

"I feel locked in," said Longoria, who pulled two shy of the franchise rookie record for most home runs in a season. "There's times when you get that feeling where you just get locked in."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 x 4 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - DANA EVELAND, ANDREW BROWN (6TH), SANTIAGO CASILLA (8TH) AND
    KURT SUZUKI
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, GRANT BALFOUR (8TH), J.P. HOWELL
    (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO

    HOME

    Jul 21 9:58 PM
  • 15
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Athletics 0, Rays 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 21 9:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (19) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF DANA EVELAND.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0, TAMPA BAY 4
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.232, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics 0, Rays 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 21 8:40 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AKINORI IWAMURA SCORED JONNY GOMES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A IWAMURA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.275, 2-FOR-2)

    Athletics 0, Rays 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 21 8:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY WILLY AYBAR (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF DANA EVELAND.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J GOMES (.189, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Athletics 0, Rays 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 21 8:17 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED B.J. UPTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E LONGORIA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.233, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 0, Rays 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 21 8:03 PM
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    DDrake Added 10 roots

    Athletics vs. RaysJul 21 8:16 AM