Davis' slam leads way as A's score 13 off Kazmir in win

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics have had few nights like this in a first half of the season where scoring runs consistently has been difficult.

Few pitchers have ever had the kind of night Scott Kazmir endured for the Los Angeles Angels.

Rajai Davis capped Oakland's biggest inning of the season with a grand slam and the Athletics handed Kazmir the worst pounding ever for an Angels pitcher in a 15-1 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday night.

Kazmir (7-9) allowed eight runs in the third inning and five more in the fifth, capped by back-to-back homers by Coco Crisp and Daric Barton.

"Today is a tough one to swallow," Kazmir said. "I can't have too much confidence after a game like this."

The 13 runs are the most allowed by an Angels pitcher, topping the 11 Scott Schoeneweis gave up against Baltimore on May 23, 2001. It was the most in the majors since St. Louis' Jason Marquis allowed 13 to the Chicago White Sox on June 21, 2006.

The offensively challenged A's broke out in a big way this night after scoring only 19 runs in the previous seven games. Davis, who entered the game in a 2-for-31 slump, added two doubles, a single and a career-high five RBIs. Crisp drove in four runs to help Oakland snap a four-game losing streak and reach a season-high in runs.

"Three home runs is good for any team. It's a real solid night for us," manager Bob Geren said. "We haven't done that too often, obviously. It's just guys getting the good part of the bat on the ball."

Ben Sheets (4-8), who came into the game with the fourth worst run support in the American League, was the beneficiary of the outburst. He pitched six scoreless innings to win for just the second time in his last eight starts. The A's had scored one or fewer runs in eight of his previous 18 starts.

Davis started the big third inning with a double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Crisp hit a popup that landed between right fielder Bobby Abreu and second baseman Howie Kendrick for an RBI single and the inning took a bad turn for the Angels when Adam Rosales hit a two-out single to center with runners on first and second.

Torii Hunter made a strong throw home and Mike Napoli made a swipe tag that appeared to get Barton. Plate umpire Ted Barrett ruled that Napoli missed the tag, much to the dismay of manager Mike Scioscia, who came charging out of the dugout to argue.

"Mike thought he tagged him," Scioscia said. "I haven't seen the replay. I know the inning got away from us after that but changing the dynamic of any one inning is not going to change anything tonight. They scored 15 runs."

After an intentional walk to Mark Ellis loaded the bases, Kazmir walked Ryan Sweeney to force in the fourth run. Davis followed with a drive into the left-field seats for Oakland's first grand slam of the season. It was also the team's biggest inning, topping a seven-run seventh inning against Pittsburgh on June 25.

Kazmir stayed in the game and ran into more trouble in the fifth. He allowed an RBI double to Davis and then a three-run homer to Crisp. Barton hit the next pitch out for Oakland's second back-to-back homers of the season, snapping an 0-for-20 streak that matched the worst of his career.

"It was amazing," Davis said. "You see one thing and you can't take your eyes off the game because another thing is happening, especially in the third inning when we scored all those runs. It was exciting to watch and something we look forward to doing more."

Kazmir allowed 13 runs and 11 hits in five innings, the fourth straight start he has allowed more runs than innings pitched. He has a 13.73 ERA in that span, raising his mark on the season to 6.92.

Scioscia said he kept Kazmir in so long because he needed the innings from his starter.

"Kaz was struggling. We'll keep pushing until he gets it right," Scioscia said. "He'll be in the rotation when the second half starts. If we have to make a move we'll consider it but we're not there yet. ... He's still going to be very important for us."

Sheets, who had allowed a major league worst 54 extra-base hits coming into the game, seemed on his way to another rough night early. Kendrick hit a one-out double in the first and Abreu then drove a ball to deep center that looked as if it could go out. But Crisp made a leaping grab before crashing against the wall for the second out.

Sheets settled down after that, allowing only one more hit despite sitting during two long innings when the A's were at the plate.

"It was long," Sheets said. "I don't think I ever got my stuff totally back. I went out there and just tried to make pitches."

Game notes
Kazmir had allowed only one earned run in his previous three starts against the A's. ... Davis' only other grand slam came on Sept. 5, 2008, against Baltimore. ... Cory Aldridge hit an RBI triple in the eighth for his first career hit in his 14th professional season. ... Oakland LHP Dallas Braden (left elbow stiffness) threw a side session on flat ground before the game. Geren said he could make a rehab start July 15 and return to the majors July 20 if there are no further setbacks.