ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Barry Zito dominated Tampa Bay
Zito struck out 11 and won his fifth straight decision, leading
the Oakland Athletics over the Devil Rays 8-3 Saturday night.Zito (6-2) tied his career high for strikeouts, allowing one run
and seven hits in eight innings."What a pitching performance," Oakland manager Art Howe said.
"Outstanding. It was mostly Zito tonight."Zito threw seven shutout innings in Oakland's 7-0 win over the
Devil Rays last Sunday. He is 4-0 all-time against Tampa Bay."In Oakland, we hadn't seen him for a while and I think a lot
of guys felt really uncomfortable against him," Brent Abernathy said.
"Today, we knew more of what to expect and we just didn't get the
job done. He makes his fastball good by using his changeup and his
curveball, and he can throw them all for strikes."Zito has given up just three runs, 17 hits and struck out 30
over 30 innings in his four career starts against Tampa Bay."The changeup was huge for me tonight," Zito said. "Most
nights, my changeup or my curveball is going to be the thing that
really helps me out, and tonight it was the change."Scott Hatteberg, who homered twice at Tropicana Field on Friday
night, hit a three-run homer in the eighth for a 6-1 lead. He has
four home runs and nine RBI against Tampa Bay this season.Terrence Long hit an RBI single in the fifth and had a solo
homer in the seventh. Randy Velarde hit an RBI double in a two-run
ninth.John Flaherty hit a solo homer in the seventh for Tampa Bay,
which has dropped nine of 10 against Oakland. He has a 12-game
hitting streak."They were better tonight than we were and they beat us,"
Tampa Bay manager Hal McRae said. "They pitched better and hit
better. There's not very much to say."Abernathy hit a two-run single in the ninth, but a great
defensive play by Velarde helped stop Tampa Bay's comeback attempt.The second baseman dove to his right to stop Randy Winn's
grounder with runners on first and second and nobody out. He pushed
the ball to shortstop Miguel Tejada with his glove for a forceout."Velarde made the play of the game," Howe said. "Getting the
forceout broke the momentum they were building."Reliever Jim Mecir then struck out Ben Grieve and Greg Vaughn to
end the game."We made some noise at the end, but not enough," McRae said.
"We had a chance to draw close. Too little, too late."Joe Kennedy (3-5) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings.Kennedy, thanks to a pair of double plays, faced the minimum 12
batters through four innings.Winn started the second double play by making a leaping catch against the wall in center on Tejada's drive
in the fourth. Shortstop Chris Gomez then relayed Winn's throw to
third base to cut down Velarde, who was attempting to advance from
second after the catch.Tejada extended his hitting streak to 11 games, putting Oakland
up 2-0 with a sixth-inning RBI single.
Kevin Kelley replaced injured umpire Steve Rippley, who was
hit in the left temple by a pitched ball during Friday's game.
Rippley, who had a slight non-displaced fracture, was released from
the hospital and went home to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday.
Surgery was not required. ... Actor Scott Wolf recited Lou Gehrig's
farewell speech as part of Project ALS Day. ... Tejada has just
four hits in his last 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
... Tampa Bay selected LHP Jason Jimenez from Triple-A Durham and
designated RHP Lee Gardner for assignment. ... C Sal Fasano was
released from Durham.