Kazmir outduels Moyer as Devil Rays shut out Mariners

SEATTLE (AP) -- Jamie Moyer has thrown tens of thousands of pitches over his 20 seasons in the major leagues. A pitch he didn't throw cost him Wednesday.

Seattle's 43-year old lost the grip on a fifth-inning pitch as he was starting his delivery, balking in the only run in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' 1-0 victory over the Mariners.

"I didn't have the right grip on the ball and recognized it," Moyer said. "My body swayed and I couldn't get my foot out the hole. Simple mistake. It cost me the game."

Scott Kazmir allowed only three singles and struck out nine over seven innings for the Devil Rays, who won for only the third time in 10 games and prevented a Seattle sweep of the three-game series.

The previous major-league game in which the only run came home on a balk was on June 8, 1998, when the New York Mets beat Boston and Tim Wakefield, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Big as Dallas, he did balk," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

With the count 1-1 to Damon Hollins and runners on second and third in the fifth, Moyer (1-3) asked catcher Rene Rivera to go
through his signs again. After beginning his pitching motion, he stepped awkwardly off the pitching rubber with his back foot and looked blankly to first base.

All four umpires called the balk.

"He started and stopped, his whole body," crew chief Gary Darling said.

Moyer did not argue as Toby Hall strolled home. Instead, he yelled a one-word admonishment at himself.

Two of the three singles off Kazmir (5-2) were infield hits, and the 22-year-old's first five outs were strikeouts. He consistently threw 94 mph fastballs, sharply dropping cut fastballs and looping changeups -- which Seattle had not seen in its scouting.

"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable," he said. "Instead of being overwhelmed and thinking I have to make three perfect pitches to strike a guy out, I'm just making quality pitches."

Kazmir has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his eight starts this season while winning games opposite Roy Halladay, Curt Schilling and Wakefield. He retired 16 in a row between Willie Bloomquist's second-inning single and Adrian Beltre's two-out walk in the seventh.

Bloomquist followed with a single, but pinch-hitter Kenji Johjima grounded out.

"Kaz has been even sharper than that," Maddon said. "It's growing into a typical performance for him.

"Potentially -- and very soon -- he's going to be one of the best left-handers in the game," he said.

Richie Sexson struck out twice against Kazmir, dropping his average to .186.

"It's frustrating, kind of a man-tester," Sexson said. "Hopefully, it will turn."

Ruddy Lugo pitched a perfect eighth and Tyler Walker allowed Raul Ibanez's double to center leading off the ninth. The liner went over Joey Gathright, who had taken three steps in.

Walker then struck out Sexson and Carl Everett, who banged the top of his batting helmet with his bat barrel. Beltre hit the next pitch on one hop to a prone Tomas Perez, who had moved to third base from shortstop in the ninth. Perez got up and threw to first for the final out.

"It's definitely exciting for a young guy to come in and make guys look that bad," Walker said of Kazmir. "The guys in that other clubhouse, you can ask them, they probably don't want to face him again this season."

Moyer again pitched well without a win. He gave up four hits in eight innings, striking out five -- but was doomed by his 11th career balk and first since Aug. 19, 2000, at Cleveland.

Game notes
Kazmir also had a 1-0 win last Sept. 4 at Toronto. ... After Moyer struck out Ty Wigginton to begin the seventh inning, Wigginton twice whacked his bat into a cement side wall of the
dugout. Splinters flew as Wigginton then slammed his batting helmet off a rack. Wigginton, who was leading the AL in with 30 RBI on Sunday, was 0-for-3 and 4-for-20 on Tampa Bay's trip. ... The last time Moyer balked home a run was April 28, 1996, for the Red Sox
versus Kansas City. ... Hall ended an 0-for-15 skid with a double and single.