From Oakland

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Colon and A’s on a winning streak

oakOakland, CA – At the mere age of forty this right-handed pitcher gets better each time he takes the mound.  Lasting eight frames in his outing tonight, you have to ask yourself, why not a complete game?

Bartolo Colon earned his eighth straight win as the Oakland A’s beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1.  Colon is the second pitcher in the franchise to win eleven games by the end of June since Mark Mulder in 1991.  This win also earned the A’s their best record after 81 games since 1992.

“I don’t expect him to give anything less now,” said Josh Donaldson.  “He’s just one of those guys who goes out there and gives us a chance to win.  He’s been dominant.  It hasn’t even been a question.”

Bartolo lowered his ERA to 1.37, over eight innings he held the Cardinals to only one run.  Giving up one free pass to remain amongst a few in the American League with the lowest walks.  Colon was close to perfect game until the fifth when Oakland’s defense made a few errors that proved costly.

Former A’s player Matt Holiday was the only walk of the night and the second batter to face Bartolo in the fifth.  Matt Adams followed with a bloop single to center field, that dropped right in front of center-fielder Coco Crisp.  David Freese grounded a single right past shortstop Jed Lowrie to score in Holiday.

“Every single fastball I threw as a strike was right down the middle of the plate,” Shelby Miller said.  “They were just good pitches to hit.  This is really disappointing.  I just didn’t have it today.”

As for the opposing pitcher, Miller lasted only 1 2/3 innings, his shortest start of his career.  Shelby gave up five runs on six hits.  Oakland’s offense dominated with every starting player coming to bat.  Yoenis Cespedes leadoff the inning with a single and the A’s took an early 2-0 lead.

Then Miller walked two batters back-to-back to load the bases with two outs.  Seth Smith hit a two-run single for a 4-0 lead.  But that wasn’t the worst part for Shelby, Lowrie’s two-run double sent Miller to the dugout for the remainder of the night.

And if things couldn’t get worse for St. Louis, Stephen Vogt hit his first MLB career home run.  Vogt played his third game since being called up this week.  There’s no better way to make a difference in a game when your catching for a pitcher like Colon.

“It was really special,” said Vogt.  “He was moving his fastball in and out, throwing changeups and sliders when he wanted to.  It’s neat to catch for a guy like Bartolo, let alone to have him throw like he did tonight.”

Tied for the second-most wins before the All-Star break, Colon hadn’t had that many wins since 2005 when he won the AL Cy Young Award with the Anaheim Angels.  He flirted with a no-hitter, a perfect game and shutout.  Bartolo had retired the first 13 batters he faced before walking Matt in the fifth.

“He’s a guy who really doesn’t put himself on the run when there are guys on base,” manager Bob Melvin said.  He’s got such good movement, he keeps off the barrel of the bat and knows he’s one pitch away from getting a ground ball and getting out of an inning like that.”