By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – The month of June was an extraordinary time for Bartolo Colon. He was a dominant force on the mound and was named American League pitcher of the month. But tonight he pitched against Matt Garza who out dueled him to end his eight game winning streak.
The A’s fell 3-1 to the Cubs not because Colon didn’t give his best stuff. Oakland’s offense couldn’t find their at-bats and their defense took a turn for the worse.
Yoenis Cespedes bore the brunt of it all, as he fumbled chasing balls that were hit to the left field corner. Three balls resulted in a pair of triples along with a double that was the final run for Chicago in the eighth.
“They were tough balls, A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You have to make a decision. If you go get it and you’re trying to keep him from second base and it gets by you, its going to be three [bases].”
Bartolo allowed his first home run since May 14 and first wild pitch since May 26, 2009. Lasting seven frames, the right-handed pitcher surrendered two runs on nine hits, one walk and no strikeouts.
“It wasn’t a great outing for me tonight, but at the same time I give credit to the other guy who pitched well,” said Colon. When asked how he feels about his winning streak coming to an end, he replied “I don’t worry about that, it’s in the past and I’m thinking about the next game.”
The Cubs jumped to an early 2-0 lead when Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI single in the first. And Luis Valbuena belted a solo shot to left field in the third which Josh Reddick almost caught as the ball grazed his glove.
Brandon Moss gave life to the offense when he blasted his fifteenth home run to cut the lead in half. But that was the only run for the A’s against Garza’s strong arm and Chicago’s tough defense.
“I had a game plan and kept attacking,” said Matt.
In eight solid innings, Garza held Oakland to four hits, allowing only one home run. The A’s had a chance to rally back in the sixth when Jed Lowrie hit a single and Cespedes got a free pass. With two on, Matt struck out Moss and Josh Donaldson flew out to center field to end the inning.
John Jaso returned to the lineup after a 10-game hiatus due to a left palm abrasion. He had one walk and no hits in four plate appearances. But the play that stayed with him throughout the game was Bartolo’s wild pitch in the first which was a result of Chicago’s first run.
“There was nobody who felt worse about that than me,” Jaso said. “I had to come back in the clubhouse and get away from everybody, I was so mad at myself.”
Looking ahead, Oakland still has an opportunity to win the series tomorrow. A victory would result in their third consecutive series win against three teams in the National League. That’s not a bad feat when you factor in they still remain atop of their division with the Texas Rangers losing to Seattle tonight.