The defending World Series champions snapped Zito's 10-game
winning streak in convincing fashion Sunday, scoring in each of the
first four innings and getting home runs from Tim Salmon and Troy
Glaus in an 8-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Eric Owens drove in two runs with his second tiebreaking,
bases-loaded single in two days, helping the Angels win their fifth
straight. Shawn Wooten also homered as the Angels finished a
three-game sweep against the team that beat them out for the AL
West title last year.
"We ran into a buzzsaw here. They took care of us pretty
good,'' Oakland manager Ken Macha said after his team was outscored
26-11 in the series. "We've just got to forget about these three
games here. We can't let this drag us down. We've got a long, long,
long way to go.''
The Angels, who finished four games behind the Athletics last
season and made the playoffs as the wild card, were swept in three
games last weekend at Oakland. The A's have dropped four straight
after a 7-1 start, matching their longest skid of last season.
"After getting swept up there, we put ourselves in a tough
position -- because if we got swept again, we'd be in a world of
hurt,'' Anaheim's Darin Erstad said. "I mean, it's early in the
season, but you still want to stay close.''
Prior to this series, Oakland's starting pitchers won 31 of 33
decisions before the Angels roughed up Zito, Tim Hudson and John
Halama for 19 runs and 24 hits in a combined 16-plus innings. Their
offense looks just as potent as last October, when they had an
eight-run inning in the division series against the Yankees and a
10-run inning in the ALCS clincher against Minnesota.
Anaheim has scored 47 runs in its last five games at Edison
"They're on a great wave right now and they're going to be
tough to beat,'' Oakland first baseman Scott Hatteberg said.
"We're going to have some real battles with those guys. They're
swinging the bats really well and they're getting great pitching.''
Ramon Ortiz (2-1) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings,
striking out five and walking one. The only runs off the
right-hander came on Terrence Long's two-run shot in the second.
Scot Shields allowed one hit over three innings and struck out five
for his first major league save.
Zito (2-1) lost for the first time in 12 starts -- not including
a victory over Minnesota in the playoffs last year -- and only the
fourth time in 28 decisions. The left-hander allowed seven runs,
eight hits and four walks in five innings.
"I think I was a little tentative out there,'' Zito said. "My
changeup was not consistent. And whenever that happens, other
things start to break down. They've got a great lineup, but the
bottom line is if you make pitches, you get outs.''
Zito's .731 winning percentage (49-18) is still the best in the
majors since 1900 by a pitcher with at least 50 decisions, and his
42 wins since the start of the 2001 season are the most among AL
"It's funny,'' Owens said. "This morning we were sitting in
here going, `Maybe it's Zito's turn,' because Pedro Martinez and
Greg Maddux and all the great pitchers in the league were getting
hit around a little bit. And sure enough, today we went out and put
a lot of pressure on Zito from the first inning on. That's what you
have to do against good pitchers.''
Owens' two-run single in the third gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead. His
pinch-hit, two-run single Saturday night snapped a 4-4 tie in a 9-4
Long, who entered in a 4-for-25 slump, put Oakland ahead 2-1
with his fourth home run -- a two-out drive to center that barely
cleared Erstad's glove as he leaped at the fence. It was Long's
fourth career home run against Ortiz and eighth against the Angels,
the most he's hit against any team.
Wooten tied it with a home run leading off the Angels' second --
his first RBI of the season in 15 at-bats.
Salmon added a three-run shot in the fourth. It was the fifth
homer this season for the Angels' career leader, who had only 15
home runs in April during his previous 10 full seasons in the big
Glaus capped the scoring in the seventh with a solo homer off
Zito's previous loss was last Aug. 8, when Boston beat him
4-2 at Fenway Park. ... Wooten, who entered 2-for-14, also singled
and walked in his third start. ... This was the first time Zito has
pitched following an A's loss this season. Last year he made 17
starts after his team lost, and was 13-1. His career record in that
department is 23-7.