Kielty's blast lifts A's, ruins return of Rays' Kazmir

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- After Scott Kazmir frustrated him in his
first two at-bats, Bobby Kielty waited for a certain pitch the
third time around. His patience paid off.

Kielty's two-run homer in the fifth spoiled Kazmir's return to
the rotation and lifted the Oakland Athletics over the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays 5-2 Friday night.

"He got to me," Kielty said. "I thought at some point he'd
come in with a fastball. He got two strikes on me and he probably
tried to sneak one in there. I just happened to guess right. If he
throws any other pitch there I strike out."

Kielty, who had three hits in his last start, has had some
success against Kazmir. He has seven hits, including two homers, in
13 at bats against the left-hander.

"I've just been feeling good lately," he said. "Playing here
and there, it's tough to get locked in, but I've been able to keep
myself somewhat fresh and have some good at-bats."

Kazmir (10-8) lasted five innings in his first start since July
23, giving up three runs and four hits. He struck out six and
walked two, failing in his fourth try at a career-high 11th win.

"Everything felt good from the start," Kazmir said. "I wasn't
overthrowing; my command wasn't all there. I already know [the
shoulder] is fine. I'm not going to worry about throwing tomorrow
and seeing how it feels. I know it's going to be good."

Dan Haren (10-9) gave up two runs, one earned, and five hits in
seven innings to win his fourth straight start. He struck out seven
and walked one. Haren has issued two or fewer walks in 23 of his 25

Justin Duchscherer pitched a perfect eighth and Huston Street
worked the ninth for his 27th save in 34 chances.

The A's bounced back from their worst shutout loss Wednesday, a
14-0 setback to the Rangers, to win their seventh in eight games.
The Devil Rays lost their fourth straight and are 1-13 on the road
since the All-Star break.

Kazmir looked strong early, retiring the first eight hitters,
five by strikeouts.

"I thought he threw the ball well," Devil Rays manager Joe
Maddon said. "He maintained his velocity. He was at 85 or so
pitches and we didn't want him throwing 100 pitches in six innings,
so that's why we took him out."

The A's, who beat him for the first time in five tries, were
happy to see Kazmir out of the game.

"He's going to be one of the premier pitchers in this league,"
A's manager Ken Macha said. "He has quite an arm. He didn't lose
any velocity. I think he just ran out of gas a little bit."

Rocco Baldelli's first career leadoff home run gave the Devil
Rays an early lead. Ben Zobrist led off the third with a single and
eventually scored on a passed ball, making it 2-0.

Frank Thomas singled in a run in the fourth and Kielty's fifth
homer of the season put the A's in front 3-2.

Milton Bradley singled to open the fourth and advanced to second
on right fielder Greg Norton's throwing error to set it up for
Thomas, who has driven in 17 runs over his last 16 games.

Kazmir issued a two-out walk to Jason Kendall in the fifth ahead
of Kielty's shot. Marco Scutaro and Mark Ellis each drove in a run
in the eighth for Oakland.

"That was quite a turnaround in the fifth," Macha said.
"There were two outs and nobody on. Jason works the walk and
Kielty hits it out."

Haren settled down after the Devil Rays scored their second run,
retiring 13 of the next 15 batters. He did not allow a runner past
first base in his final four innings.

"It's rough opening the game and the guy hits a solo home
run," Haren said. "I was fighting myself early, but I found
myself there in the third. My fastball was all over the place, but
Jason kept calling more fastballs, and eventually I found the
release point and I was able to attack the hitters."

Jonny Gomes was 2-for-4 for Tampa Bay. Gomes, from nearby
Petaluma, Calif., had five hits in his previous 77 at-bats since
the All-Star break. It was his first multihit game since July 9.

The Devil Rays' Carl Crawford went hitless in his third straight
game for just the third time this season. He has not gone longer
without a hit in consecutive starts since a four-game streak
between Aug. 14-18, 2004.

Game notes
Baldelli hit just his second home run since July 1. ... A's
LHP Scott Sauerbeck was activated from the DL. ... Thomas is within
four RBI of tying Joe DiMaggio (1,537) for 39th on baseball's
career list. ... The A's have scored 516 runs, worst in the AL
except the Devil Ray's 506. ... Kielty is 7-for-13 with two home
runs against Kazmir. ... Haren is 5-1 against the AL East in seven