Blake Stein, one of the young players the Oakland Athletics acquired from St. Louis in the trade for Mark McGwire, is beginning to look like an impact player himself.
The rangy right-hander, making just his sixth big-league start, struck out 10 and pitched 8 1-3 solid innings Monday night in a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"He's awfully good," Athletics third baseman Mike Blowers said. "The trade for Mac obviously was a situation where they were going to rebuild here. ... The key to it is to try and get some good young talent in return, and he obviously looks like he's going to be good."
The 6-foot-7 Stein allowed five hits, walked one and set a personal high in strikeouts.
"He was on top of his game all the way and just kept pounding the strike zone," Oakland manager Art Howe said.
The 24-year-old Stein said: "I wanted to make them beat me at my game. I went right after them and things worked out. "
Dodgers starter Ramon Martinez (7-3), burned for three unearned runs in a four-run first inning by the Athletics, was impressed by Stein's performance.
"Give credit to Stein. He pitched a great game for them," said Martinez, who gave up seven runs four earned and six hits in seven innings for his first loss since April 21.
After Oakland took its quick 4-0 lead, Jason Giambi's three-run homer in the seventh off Martinez gave the Athletics some breathing room.
Stein (2-3) gave way to reliever Billy Taylor after giving up a two-run homer to Eric Karros in the ninth.
Stein struck out eight in his major-league debut, a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on May 10. In his last outing, however, he was roughed up for nine runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings in a 16-10 loss to Texas.
Ben Grieve had three hits for Oakland, including a pair of doubles.
Oakland cashed in on Martinez' wildness and an error by catcher Charles Johnson for four runs in the opening inning.
Martinez walked Rickey Henderson leading off the game, and Scott Spiezio followed with a single. After Grieve flied out, Martinez walked Matt Stairs.
With the bases loaded, Mike Blowers bounced back to the mound and Martinez fielded the grounder and threw home. But Johnson missed the ball, allowing two runs to score.
Martinez gave up his third walk of the inning, to Giambi, then Mike Macfarlane had a sacrifice fly and Miguel Tejada added an RBI single to cap the inning.
Johnson said he definitely should have made the play on Martinez's throw to the plate.
"When it hit my glove, I thought I had it," the Dodgers catcher said. "I was shocked when I didn't have it in my glove. I went to grab for it and it wasn't there. That could really have changed the course of the game."
Ls Angeles rookie Paul Konerko put the Dodgers on the board with a solo homer in the fifth inning.
Notes: Spiezio's single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 17 games. ... Martinez had won seven of his previous eight decisions. ... The Dodgers optioned right-handed pitcher Eric Weaver back to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Greg McMichael, another right-hander. ... Johnson, a three-time Gold Glove winner who made no errors for Florida all last season, has made four this year, two since joining the Dodgers on May 15.
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