OAKLAND — Mike Scioscia was sticking with Scott Kazmir no matter what in the fifth inning.
The Angels' manager may not be so forgiving with Kazmir after the All-Star break unless the embattled pitcher can revive a season that reached an unfathomable low Saturday at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.
By the time an Angels reliever started warming up in the fifth inning, Kazmir had given up 10 hits and 12 runs, with eight of the runs scoring during a disastrous third inning.
And it only got worse.
Daric Barton added a solo home run in the fifth to cap the Athletics' onslaught against Kazmir during a 15-1 trouncing that marked the Angels' worst loss of the season and was their fifth defeat in their last six games.
If pitching lines were included in blooper reels, Kazmir's would be placed on an endless loop. He gave up 11 hits, 13 earned runs, three walks and three homers in five innings.
"Today was a tough one to swallow, that's for sure," said an unusually soft-spoken Kazmir, whose earned-run average inflated by nearly a full run, to 6.92 from 5.98, during his fourth consecutive loss.
It was the most runs yielded by an Angels pitcher in franchise history, surpassing the 11 Scott Schoeneweis gave up May 23, 2001, against Baltimore. St. Louis' Jason Marquis was the last major league pitcher to surrender 13 runs, against the Chicago White Sox on June 21, 2006.
It has been a season of struggles for Kazmir (7-9), who has tied a career high for losses before the All-Star break. The left-hander has been especially horrid over his last four starts, averaging less than five innings and compiling a 13.73 ERA.
Scioscia said Kazmir's spot in the rotation remained secure for now but acknowledged he would consider using an off day July 19 to push back Kazmir's first start after the All-Star break.
"His track record and what we can see as his upside is still worth moving forward with," Scioscia said of Kazmir, who was 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA in six second-half starts for the Angels last season after being acquired from Tampa Bay. "We have a lot of confidence in what our rotation can do, and he's part of that."
The Angels' offense continued its weak ways, collecting four hits against Oakland starter Ben Sheets (4-8) and three relievers. Cory Aldridge's first major league hit, a run-scoring triple in the eighth inning that came 4,873 professional at-bats and nearly nine years after the outfielder made his major league debut with the Atlanta Braves, was the only highlight.
After facing only one batter above the minimum over the first two innings, Kazmir quickly unraveled in the third. Rajai Davis doubled to right field, Cliff Pennington tripled to right-center, and the rout was on during an inning capped by Davis' grand slam to left-center.
Davis added a run-scoring double as part of the Athletics' five-run fifth and finished with a career-high five RBIs.
But even after Coco Crisp crushed a three-run homer to give Oakland a 12-0 lead, Scioscia left Kazmir in the game so that he could complete the inning.
Was Scioscia sending a message to Kazmir?
"Absolutely not," Scioscia said. "We needed those pitches and we needed those innings. It's tough to leave a guy out there when he's struggling a bit, but for where our staff was, we needed him to get through that fifth inning without having to go multiple innings for anybody down there tonight so we're set up tomorrow if we need that length."
Scioscia said Kazmir's struggles were more related to confidence than mechanical problems, but Kazmir said he was confident going into the game. Coming out of it might have been a different matter entirely.
"You don't have too much confidence whenever you have outings like this," Kazmir said. "So I'm just going to try to get better and move on."