CLEVELAND (AP) — Scott Kazmir ended up missing a good game.
Kazmir’s teammates overcame his ejection in the second inning by home plate umpire Jerry Layne and the Oakland Athletics beat the Cleveland Indians 6-2 on Saturday night.
Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Josh Donaldson also had three RBIs and Oakland’s bullpen allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings to help seal the Athletics’ eighth win in nine games.
Dan Otero (4-0) relieved Kazmir and pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings.
Kazmir revived his career last season with the Indians, going 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts. He signed a two-year, $22 million contract with Oakland in the offseason.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I was really looking forward to this start and this is probably the best I’ve felt going out there.”
The Indians had already scored a run on a wild pitch when Kazmir walked Jesus Aguilar on a borderline full-count pitch with one out. The walk was the third Kazmir allowed and he was clearly unhappy with Layne’s strike zone. Kazmir protested and Layne quickly ejected him.
“I don’t really know how to start,” Kazmir said. “It ended up a pitch I thought was a strike, he didn’t agree with it and before I knew it I was out of the game. It didn’t even register I was out of the game. I went to the back of the mound and tried to regroup and I was like, I can’t even pitch any more, it’s over.”
“He was gesturing and arguing balls and strikes,” Layne told a pool reporter. “That’s automatic ejection. When I warned him, he didn’t take any knowledge of that, and that’s it. Bottom line, it was just pure balls and strikes.”
Kazmir said there was little time between the warning and the ejection.
“I think the warning was in mid-breath, like, warning and then ‘You’re out of here,’ same breath,” Kazmir said. “So it was a little surprising. But what are you going to do?”
Oakland manager Bob Melvin raced on the field and had a heated argument with Layne. Kazmir left the field, angrily fired his glove against the wall of Oakland’s dugout and kicked a trash can on his way to the clubhouse.
“I wanted to apologize to the trash can,” Kazmir said. “It did nothing wrong. I was just frustrated.”
Asked if he thought Kazmir was ejected too quickly, Melvin said, “It’s tough to comment, I’m going to support my starter.”
Oakland responded to the ejection with three runs in the third off Josh Tomlin (2-1).
“I think that kind of inspired us a little bit,” Donaldson said. “I don’t take that lightly when you throw our starting pitcher out in the second inning.”
Coco Crisp doubled with one out and scored on Donaldson’s two-out single. Moss then hit a full-count pitch to right-center for his ninth homer of the season.
Donaldson, who had three hits, added a two-run triple that hit high off the wall in left in the seventh. Layne, the crew chief, initiated a review to check if it was a home run, but the original call was upheld. Moss followed with an RBI single.
The Athletics lost a similar challenge last season when an apparent game-tying home run in the ninth by Adam Rosales was ruled a double and the Indians hung on for the win.
Otero relieved and got Mike Aviles to hit into a double play. Fernando Abad allowed a run in the sixth, but Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle closed out the win.
The game was briefly delayed during Oakland’s rally when a squirrel ran across the field while John Jaso was batting. The squirrel stopped in the middle of the infield before finally jumping into the stands on the third base side and disappearing.
A squirrel also interrupted the game on April 21 at Progressive Field when the Indians defeated Kansas City.
The Indians have lost three straight and five of seven. Cleveland committed three errors and has made a major league-high 43 errors in 43 games.
NOTES: Indians DH Jason Giambi (strained right calf) will likely be activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. The 43-year-old veteran admitted the team is struggling. “I know we’re kind of sputtering,” Giambi said. “We get that little glimmer and then it kind of falls apart. We have to keep our heads above water until we hit that good winning streak.” … 1B Daric Barton, designated for assignment Thursday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. … Indians LHP T.J. House, recalled from Columbus before the game, made his major league debut, pitching a scoreless ninth. … Athletics 2B Eric Sogard, who is batting .091 (3 for 33) in May, was given the day off.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.