OAKLAND – Scott Kazmir’s debut with the Oakland A’s was everything he and his new team could have hoped for, and then some.
The left-hander was dominant over 7 1/3 shutout innings as the A’s beat the Cleveland Indians 6-1 in the opener of the first day/night doubleheader ever played at the Coliseum.
Kazmir faced just three batters over the minimum before leaving in the eighth to a standing ovation. He painted his fastball on the corners and mixed in his offspeed stuff to keep the Indians guessing.
It’s tough to make any judgments off one start, but his effort was early confirmation of why the A’s gave him a two-year $22 million contract back in December.
In a game that plodded along early, thanks to a lengthy replay review and a laboring start from Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (0-1), Kazmir did his part to keep the first game moving along briskly and sparked the A’s to their first victory of 2014.
The A’s, who were shut out in Monday’s opener, jumped ahead with five runs over the first three innings and coasted from there.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir, who had his season debut rained out Tuesday night, said he enjoyed pitching in day games. It showed.
He was sharp from the get-go, retiring 10 of his first 11 and allowing little in the way of solid contact all afternoon. Kazmir (1-0) allowed just three hits, walked none and struck out five. His effort was important as it allowed manager Bob Melvin to conserve his bullpen for the second game. Dan Otero was the only reliever called upon in the opener.
Otero entered in the eighth and closed things out. He allowed Carlos Santana’s two-out RBI single in the ninth that spoiled the shutout but kept Melvin from dipping further into the bullpen.
At the plate
Alberto Callaspo drew the start at third base and took advantage of it. He went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer in the third and also scored twice. Kluber dug a hole for himself with three walks, but credit Oakland’s hitters for capitalizing on his vulnerability.
Yoenis Cespedes’ opposite-field single scored Coco Crisp in the first. Kluber loaded the bases in the second and Crisp brought another run home with a sacrifice fly. After a lengthy replay review – Derek Norris was out at home plate on a close play – Jed Lowrie poked an RBI single to left field to make it 3-0. Callaspo turned on the first pitch he saw from Kluber in the third and drove it over the right field wall for a two-run homer.
All in all, it was welcome production after the A’s were blanked on five hits in the opener.
In the field
Callaspo mishandled a routine grounder on what turned out to be a meaningless error. Second baseman Eric Sogard made a terrific backhanded stop behind second base and threw to first to get Yan Gomes in the sixth.
A crowd of 15,134 was welcomed with a sunny afternoon after two days of heavy rain at the Coliseum.
The A’s will clear the stadium and then re-open the gates for the nightcap to this twin bill. Josh Lindblom (1-3, 5.46) opposes Zach McAllister (9-9, 3.75) at 6:05 p.m.