Los Angeles at Oakland

L.A. Dodgers
W: B. Zito (8-3) L: B. Tomko (5-6)
HR: LA - None   OAK - E. Chavez (14)

Zito regains Cy Young form in win over Dodgers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Barry Zito has his Cy Young Award stuff again. His curveball is at its nastiest and he's found a rhythm with his fastball, too.

What perfect timing coming in his contract year -- not that the future is at the front of Zito's mind. It's mid-June, and the Oakland Athletics are on a roll.

Zito struck out 11 in his sixth straight victory, Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer and the A's beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Friday night for their season-high eighth straight win.

"I felt like the stuff was good," Zito said. "The curveball had good bite on it and my fastball command was better."

Zito matched his career high with his third career 11-strikeout game and first since June 1, 2002, at Tampa Bay. It was his 11th game with 10 or more strikeouts, and he pitched in the late innings to chants of "Zito! Zito!"

"He looked pretty unhittable -- like he was throwing Wiffle balls up there with his curveball," Chavez said. "Barry's been pretty much unhittable for a month and a half now."

Jay Payton doubled twice among his three hits, Bobby Kielty had two doubles with an RBI, and Marco Scutaro doubled and drove in two runs for the A's, who finished with seven doubles.

Adam Melhuse also had three hits with a double for Oakland, which got significant contributions from throughout its order to move a season-high five games over .500 (36-31). The A's have improved their play dramatically in June just as they did a year ago following a 7-20 May that featured two eight-game skids.

Oakland has won a season-high six straight at home and the A's have their longest winning streak since they won eight in a row from June 23-July 1 last season.

Zito (8-3) is making quite a statement to potential suitors with his A's contract set to expire after the season. He has returned to the form that won him the AL Cy Young in 2002.

"I thought he had the best stuff of the year," A's manager Ken Macha said. "I thought he had lights-out stuff tonight."

He won his sixth straight decision and fifth consecutive start, improving to 4-0 in June. Zito allowed eight hits and three runs in eight innings and didn't walk a batter for the third time this year.

The left-hander's menacing curveball was on from the start, and he struck out six through three innings -- fanning five in a row before allowing three straight hits in the third inning that included Kenny Lofton's two-run single.

"Very seldom have I seen the kid go out there and not have that curveball and have the success, but he certainly had it working tonight," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "You can't say enough about the game he pitched out there."

And Zito received the run support he has lacked so many times in recent years.

Scutaro hit an RBI double in the second to give Oakland a 1-0 lead, then the Dodgers went ahead in the top of the third.

The A's hit back-to-back doubles off Brett Tomko to start the fourth, tying the game on Payton's double and going ahead on Scutaro's sacrifice fly to left two batters later.

Dan Johnson doubled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Chavez, nursing pain in his hamstring where it attaches to the buttocks, connected for his 14th homer in the fifth with a drive just inside the right-field foul pole.

"Tell you what, dude, that's making up for five years," Zito said of his team's scoring.

Tomko (5-6) has lost five straight starts for the first time in his 10-year career. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. The right-hander walked one and didn't strike out a batter for the second time this year and second time in three starts.

A's right fielder Milton Bradley missed his first chance to face his former team because of a strained left shoulder and isn't expected to play Saturday or Sunday either.

The A's acquired the switch-hitting Bradley in a trade with Los Angeles on Dec. 13 to upgrade their offense and bat around Chavez. Bradley, who became known for his volatile behavior last season that included a run-in with Jeff Kent, has been plagued by injuries for the second straight season.

Kent doubled twice for Los Angeles, moving into a tie with Lou Brock and Billy Herman for 54th place on the career list with 486.

Tomko, facing the A's for the seventh time in his career, had lost five straight decisions last season with San Francisco, but not five consecutive outings.


A's CF Mark Kotsay was a late scratch with back spasms and isn't expected to play Saturday. ... Zito had a no-decision in his only other start against the Dodgers, a 5-3, 15-inning loss by the A's on July 14, 2001, in Oakland. ... Dodgers OF J.D. Drew, still nursing a bruised right thigh, got another day off to work on his swing. ... Los Angeles activated C Dioner Navarro from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Payton has four straight multihit games.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Barry Zito has the right stuff again, throwing 11 strikeouts for his sixth straight win.  (AP)
Barry Zito has the right stuff again, throwing 11 strikeouts for his sixth straight win. (AP)

Players of the Game

E. Chavez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

J. Payton
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0

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Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS4110020 .251
Kenny Lofton, CF4012000 .311
Nomar Garciaparra, 1B4020001 .354
Jeff Kent, 2B4120012 .273
Olmedo Saenz, DH4011011 .297
Matt Kemp, LF4000032 .346
Jose Cruz Jr., RF4000011 .228
Russell Martin, C3000020 .289
Ramon Martinez, 3B3110010 .346
2B - Rafael Furcal (7, Zito), Jeff Kent 2 (12, Zito, Zito)
RBI - Kenny Lofton 2 (14), Olmedo Saenz (28)
2-OUT RBI - Olmedo Saenz (11)
Team LOB - 4
Los Angeles Dodgers
Brett Tomko (L,5-6) 5955101 5.45
Hong-Chih Kuo 1.2422130 5.49
Jae Seo 1.1000020 5.52
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Tomko 98-65, Hong-Chih Kuo 44-26, Jae Seo 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Tomko 6-9, Jae Seo 2-0
Batters Faced - Brett Tomko 25, Hong-Chih Kuo 10, Jae Seo 4
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C5000003 .261
Nick Swisher, LF4000110 .289
Adam Melhuse, DH5130002 .260
Eric Chavez, 3B4222002 .269
Bobby Crosby, SS3110112 .252
Dan Johnson, 1B4110013 .249
Jay Payton, CF4232001 .277
Bobby Kielty, RF4021002 .292
Marco Scutaro, 2B3012022 .192
2B - Adam Melhuse (5, Tomko), Dan Johnson (10, Tomko), Jay Payton 2 (13, Tomko, Kuo), Bobby Kielty 2 (8, Kuo, Kuo), Marco Scutaro (4, Tomko)
HR - Eric Chavez (14, Tomko)
SF - Marco Scutaro (1)
RBI - Eric Chavez 2 (45), Jay Payton 2 (16), Bobby Kielty (10), Marco Scutaro 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Jay Payton (5), Bobby Kielty (5), Marco Scutaro (1)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Chavez-Scutaro-Johnson
Oakland Athletics
Barry Zito (W,8-3) 88330110 3.51
Kiko Calero 1000000 4.10
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 110-72, Kiko Calero 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 6-6, Kiko Calero 1-2
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 31, Kiko Calero 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30161
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Larry Poncino