Scott Kazmir has been so good for the Oakland Athletics, manager Bob Melvin wasn’t prepared to see his ace flop so badly.
Kazmir was tagged for three homers and allowed a season-high seven runs in the A’s 10-1 loss to the New York Mets and Bartolo Colon on Tuesday night.
“It’s almost a shock when you see him give up some runs but he just got some balls up, missed locations with a few of them and they didn’t miss them,” Melvin said. “Usually he’s so unpredictable in his pitches that if he does get a ball up sometimes he gets away with it but he didn’t today.”
A first-round draft pick by New York in 2002 but sent to Tampa Bay in a very unpopular trade two years later, Kazmir struggled from the start in his first start ever in Queens.
He entered with the AL’s best ERA (2.08) and on a four-game winning streak, but was out after just three innings. His ERA rose to 2.66.
Kazmir (9-3) gave up consecutive homers to Curtis Granderson and Chris Young in the second inning and a three-run shot to Travis d’Arnaud in the third. The left-hander went 22 starts without giving up more than one homer in a game since Aug. 18, with the Indians.
Kazmir blamed his lack of command on his troubles, not his first outing against the Mets in New York – he beat the Mets in September in Cleveland.
“I’ve never played in Shea Stadium. I’d never played in Citi Field so it’s not really coming back for me,” Kazmir said. “I think it’d be a little bit different if I had actually played at the big league level with the Mets and had a little bit of history in that regard, but it was just going out here today to take care of business.”
The A’s second straight loss ended with reliever Jeff Francis striking out. Melvin had Derek Norris and Craig Gentry on the bench but Gentry was given a cortisone shot in a knee. Norris was out of the lineup after being hit by a backswing on Sunday.
“I wasn’t going to use him in that type of game,” Melvin said of Norris.
Colon (8-5) shut down the team that didn’t want him back this year despite an 18-win season, pitching four-hit ball for eight innings against the AL West leaders.
Signed by the Mets 10 days after the A’s inked Kazmir in December, Colon won his sixth straight decision. He also singled for his second straight game, much to the delight of the 25,751 in attendance.
“Just when you think you’ve got him figured out he’s going to throw something that you have no idea he’s going to throw and that’s just a testament to how good he is,” Stephen Vogt said of Colon. “Obviously I’m frustrated that we didn’t beat him but obviously it was great to see him.”
Colon only faced trouble in the first when Yoenis Cespedes followed Brandon Moss’ single with a double to the wall in center field for the early lead.
Colon gave up a hit to Cespedes in the fourth and another single in the fifth to Coco Crisp, but he otherwise cruised through the best run-producing lineup in the majors.
“It feels really good in particular because it’s a team like the Oakland A’s, which for me right now is the No. 1 team,” Colon said through a translator.
Slumping Mets outfielder Chris Young also homered off failed closer Jim Johnson in the fifth for only the Mets’ fifth four-homer game at Citi Field since it opened in 2009, according to STATS.
Granderson and David Wright had RBI groundouts, and Daniel Murphy added a run-scoring single for the Mets, who scored at least 10 runs in consecutive games for the first time since June 28-29, 2011, in Detroit. They beat Miami 11-5 on Sunday.
The Mets have won a season high-tying three straight.
NOTES: The A’s activated RF Josh Reddick before the game. He was 0 for 2 with a walk. … Oakland placed 1B Kyle Blanks on the 15-day DL with a left calf strain. … Wright tied a career high with an RBI in his seventh straight game. … First base umpire Joe West was hit in the chest by a line drive but he barely flinched. … Up next: Oakland LHP Brad Mills (0-0) vs. New York RHP Zack Wheeler (3-7).
Updated June 24, 2014