ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The way Tomo Ohka was pitching in his debut for the Milwaukee Brewers, manager Ned Yost was going to give him every opportunity to finish the game.
"He was still making pitches. We were going to give him a shot at the shutout," Yost said after the right-hander bailed himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning and blanked the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-0 on Tuesday night.It was Ohka's first career shutout and stopped the Brewers' five-game losing streak."He picked everybody up, especially when we needed a win and were having trouble scoring runs," Yost added. "He goes out and shuts them out. It says a lot good for him."Ohka (5-3) struck out six and walked none in his first outing since being acquired from the Nationals for infielder Junior Spivey last Friday.The trade came less than a week after the right-hander was fined by the Nationals for showing disrespect to manager Frank Robinson while being removed from a game against Florida. Ohka turned his back to the manager as he walked to the mound. Robinson then had to grab the ball out of Ohka's hand to make the pitching change."After joining a new team this was a chance to show what I can do. I never thought about a complete-game shutout," the Japanese pitcher said through an interpreter.Ohka bailed himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth to finish his fifth career complete game. He has won four consecutive decisions since losing to the Mets on April 23. The complete game was his first since Sept. 26, 2003, when he beat Cincinnati while pitching for the Montreal Expos."I don't care about a shutout," the 29-year-old pitcher said. "We just needed a win."Lyle Overbay and Wes Helms each drove in two runs off Casey Fossum (2-5).The Devil Rays loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on
singles by Carl Crawford, Jorge Cantu and Aubrey Huff. Ohka then got Damon Hollins to ground into a double play."He was mixing it up, going in and out, and had his offspeed working," Crawford said.Fossum, a teammate of Ohka's when the pitcher was in Boston, was impressed, too."It was a quick inning every time," Fossum said. "It seemed like by the time I sat down and got something to drink, I was already getting ready to go back out there."Fossum settled down after giving up a walk, a single and Overbay's two-run single to start the game. The Brewers wasted several opportunities to build on the 2-0 lead, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position before Helms' two-run single made it 4-0 in the sixth.Cantu had three of Tampa Bay's hits off Ohka, including a first-inning double on a routine pop fly that second baseman Rickie Weeks lost in the lights. The Devil Rays began the night leading the majors in hitting with runners in scoring position (.307) but had no answers for Ohka.He retired all four batters he faced with men in scoring position in the first two innings and later set down nine straight before giving up a two-out double to Huff in the sixth. Ohka escaped further damage when Hollins flied to center to end the threat.Fossum, who has lost seven straight decisions as a starter dating to last season with Arizona, allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings. He dropped to 0-3 in five starts for the Devil Rays, despite tying a career high with 10 strikeouts.
With a left-hander starting for Tampa Bay, Brewers prospect Prince Fielder did not play after making his big-league debut at DH and going 0-for-4 Monday night. Instead, the right-handed hitting Helms was the DH. The son of former major-leaguer Cecil Fielder is expected back in the lineup Wednesday
night against Devil Rays right-hander Hideo Nomo. ... Tampa Bay first baseman Travis Lee has gone 168 consecutive games without an error, 10 shy of the AL record for first basemen.