O.CO COLISEUM — Scott Kazmir didn’t try to over-do things. He didn’t let his former team get into his head. And he certainly didn’t fall flat in his first start of the regular season.
Kazmir showed why Oakland was willing to pay him $11 million a year, Wednesday afternoon, when the 30-year-old lefty systematically dismantled the Cleveland Indians.
Kazmir allowed only three hits in 7-1/3 innings with no runs scored and five strikeouts to the A’s to a 6-0 victory in the first half of a first-ever Coliseum day-night doubleheader.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said that Kazmir’s command was a key factor to the three-hitter:
“The unpredictability and command of the pitches makes him dominating, despite a 90 mph fastball. If you have it working on both sides, it makes it a lot more difficult for the hitter. … When he’s throwing them all for strikes, even dropping some curveballs in for strikes, as a hitter, you feel like you don’t have anything to eliminate.”
Kazmir’s outing comes on the heels of an exhibition performance at AT&T Park against the Giants in which he allowed only two hits in six innings.
This time, against his former Cleveland teammates, things were a little different.
Cleveland’s Nick Swisher and Alex Aviles were taunting him from the dugout, which Kazmir said was all in good fun. He continued:
“With a team like Cleveland, you have to get ahead because they’re a great fastball hitting team. … In the first inning, I heard everyone in the Cleveland dugout chirping at me, talking trash and stuff. But I was able to get a couple outs and quiet them down a little bit.”
Kazmir wasn’t the only Oakland player to have a good day. Centerfielder Coco Crisp was able to get his first run and stolen base of the season, all in front of his two kids, who were in the stands. Crisp signed a two-year contract extension late in the offseason.
Third baseman Alberto Callaspo knocked in two RBI’s and two runs, on two hits. Five Oakland players had multi-hit games, which is a good sign for the ballclub after being shut out on opening day.
Kazmir said that going deep in the game was important to preserve the arms in the bullpen:
“Everything worked out, but it’s one start. First one of the year and hopefully something I can build on.”
After finishing the series against Cleveland Wednesday evening, the A’s will host the Seattle Mariners for a four-game homestand before traveling east to Minnesota.