Zito, two relievers combine to one-hit Mariners

SEATTLE (AP) -- Instead of trying to be Cy Young, Barry Zito
simply was Barry Zito.

That was Cy Young-worthy on Saturday, when Zito rebounded from
trying to do too much against the Yankees on opening night to
shutting down the overwhelmed Mariners. He and three Oakland
relievers combined on a one-hitter to send the Athletics to a 3-0
win over Seattle on Saturday night.

Kiko Calero, Joe Kennedy and closer Huston Street kept the
Mariners hitless over the final three innings to finish Oakland's
fourth win in five games. Street earned his first save after he had
23 while winning Rookie of the Year honors last season.

This one ensured Oakland's first back-to-back shutouts since May
4-6, 2003.

Zito struck out six and walked none. Monday against the Yankees,
he lasted 1 1-3 innings -- the shortest outing of his career -- and
allowed seven runs and four walks.

"I tried to be everyone and Cy Young at the same time. I was
trying to do too much," Zito said.

The Mariners did nothing -- again. They have not scored in 20
innings, since the sixth inning of a win Thursday over the Los
Angeles Angels.

Coupled with Joe Blanton's two-hit, eight-inning mastery in a
shutout Friday, the A's set an Oakland record for fewest hits
allowed in consecutive games.

"We are a better hitting ballclub than that," Mariners manager
Mike Hargrove.

Mark Kotsay gave the Athletics all the offense they needed with
a home run, a triple and two runs scored. He also almost preserved
a no-hitter.

The only hit Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, allowed
was Richie Sexson's double in the second inning. That hit plopped
out of Kotsay's glove and off the outfield wall after the center
fielder had sprinted for 30 yards onto the warning track. Kotsay
briefly had the ball in his glove.

"That would have been a great play to make, but not one I
expect to make -- especially going into the wall," Kotsay said.
"Lots of times I've gotten hurt going into the wall like that."

Zito didn't mind, though he teased about Kotsay "dropping it."

"We can blame him for the no-hitter being broken," Zito joked.
"No, he tracked the heck of that ball ... Most guys wouldn't even
get to that."

With Sexson on third base following a wild pitch, Zito struck
out Adrian Beltre and Carl Everett and retired Kenji Johjima on a
ground ball.

Zito (1-1) said he still threw too many pitches -- 109 in his six
innings. But unlike against the Yankees, those pitches were in or
near the strike zone.

So much so, normally keen-eyed All Star Ichiro Suzuki flailed at
a 3-2 pitch in the dirt for a sixth-inning strikeout.

"You don't see Ichiro swing on 3-2 like that," Kotsay said.

Zito blamed himself for being "way too fired up" for the
Yankees opener.

"I really wanted to shut them down and let fans know the A's
were for real," Zito said. "I'm more me when I'm calm and
collected. My emotions were everywhere out there that night."

Zito's only trouble beyond Sexson's double came after he hit
Johjima and Willie Bloomquist with consecutive pitches in the
fifth, but he then struck out Yuniesky Betancourt to end the
Mariners' mini threat.

"We haven't executed the last couple games -- or they have,"
Sexson said. "Sometimes you just get beat by good pitching."

Jamie Moyer (0-1) wasn't bad, he just wasn't Zito. The Mariners'
43-year-old opening day starter pitched 5 2-3 innings and allowed
three runs and six hits. Moyer struck out four and walked one.

Game notes
Zito has been involved in each of the last eight times the
A's have had consecutive shutouts, dating to September, 2000. ...
Oakland C Jason Kendall was hit by Rafael Soriano's pitch in the
seventh inning. It was Kendall's 199th time hit by a pitch, passing
Frank Robinson for seventh place on baseball's career list. ... The
last time the A's had a two-hitter and a one-hitter in consecutive
games was in 1964 at Baltimore, on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12. ... The
last time the Mariners were shut out in consecutive games had been
June 8-9, 2004, at Houston. ... It was Oakland's first one-hit game
since last June 26, a 16-0 win over San Francisco.