Zito pitches into eighth as A's blank Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- With Rich Harden already on the disabled
list and Esteban Loaiza joining him on Monday, the Oakland
Athletics needed the rest of the rotation to step up. Barry Zito
did just that with one of his vintage performances.

Zito shrugged off his 5.93 ERA to combine with two relievers on
a six-hitter, and the Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 1-0 on
Monday night.

"I feel like my motivation right now is to compete with two of
our starting pitchers down right now," Zito said. "We don't know
how long it will be with Harden, so it's very important that the
starters pick up the slack. The team is definitely a motivating
factor, so I've just got to go out and hold them down."

Zito (2-2) scattered five singles over 7 2-3 innings, striking
out four and walking two. The 2002 Cy Young winner, who surrendered
three home runs last Monday in a no-decision at Texas, allowed only
one runner as far as third base.

"He had good stuff his last start, too, but just got a couple
of balls up," catcher Jason Kendall said. "Tonight he worked both
sides of the plate with his fastball. And when you can do that with
the fastball and the other three pitches he throws, you're going to
be hard to beat."

In the eighth, Chone Figgins singled with one out, Orlando
Cabrera walked, and Garret Anderson followed with a towering drive
that Jay Payton caught leaning against the short fence in the right
field corner to take a three-run homer away from the Angels' career
RBI leader.

"Whenever stuff like that happens, I just watch the
outfielder," Zito said. "Jay had a bead on it, and I was just
hoping that no fans interfered with him. When you see a wall out
there that low, you always think about that happening. But
apparently, there were some A's fans out there and they were
probably ready to beat up whoever was going to try to mess it up."

Kiko Calero retired Vladimir Guerrero on a line drive to left
field that ended the threat, and Juston Duchscherer got three outs
for his second save in three attempts.

Huston Street, last year's AL Rookie of the Year, was cleared by
Oakland's medical staff to pitch after missing 11 games with a
strained right pectoral muscle. But manager Ken Macha decided to
hold his primary closer back another day.

"I wasn't going to bring him into a 1-0 game the first time
back," Macha said. "There was a lot of drama in that game. It
wasn't for the faint of heart."

Tim Salmon made a bid to tie the game in the ninth, but center
fielder Mark Kotsay caught his fly ball just as he slammed into the

"I hit it good," Salmon said. "I didn't know if it was going
to clear the wall. That cool air out there just knocks things down,
but we've got to live with that here early in the year. I mean,
look at Garret's ball. I thought he crushed that ball."

Hector Carrasco (0-2), making his third start in place of
injured Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, allowed a run and three hits
in six innings with three strikeouts and two walks.

Carrasco retired his first 10 batters before Nick Swisher
doubled into the right field corner and scored on a two-out single
by Bobby Crosby.

That was enough for Zito, who helped pitch the A's to their
fourth straight victory and third shutout of the season.

"He's got a great changeup and he's still got enough on the
fastball to make you respect it," Salmon said. "And that
curveball. You're just not going to put together a string of hits
off guys who have good command of their off-speed pitches."

Figgins, who came in 3-for-28 lifetime against Zito, was
scheduled to sit for the first time this season. But center fielder
Darin Erstad was a late scratch because of irritation in his right
ankle, and Figgins moved from third base to center. He went

Figgins led off the first inning with a single and stole second
for his eighth steal in as many attempts. But he was thrown out for
the first time in the fifth by Kendall, who has gunned down eight
of 14 so far this season after going just 18-for-119 last year.

"I went home and worked in the offseason with my old man and
just had to slow everything down, slow my feet down," Kendall
said. "More than anything, it's just footwork and realizing that
you can't throw everybody out and try to make the same throw every

Game notes
Opponents' No. 3 hitters are 0-for-17 against Zito.
Anderson was 0-for-4. ... LHP Brad Halsey, who has a 1.42 ERA in
nine relief appearances, will start Tuesday for Oakland in place of
Harden -- who was placed on the DL Saturday and is out for three to
six weeks with a lower back strain. ... The Athletics have played
25 games, and have yet to give up a run in the seventh inning. ...
Four A's pitchers had saves while Street was sidelined. ... A's RF
Milton Bradley missed his fifth straight game because of a right
knee strain and a sore right hip.