OAKLAND For the second time in three nights Wednesday, an A's starting pitcher subdued the best-hitting team in baseball. This time it was an old nemesis of the Texas Rangers, Bartolo Colon, who took another step toward putting a rough May behind him.
Colon scattered five hits over eight scoreless innings as the A's beat the Rangers 2-0 in a breezy two-hour, four-minute affair, believed to be the fastest game in the American League this season. The Rangers were shut out for the first time in 2012.
"There's rhythm and flow to a game, and (Colon) really dictated that today," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "I think the speed of the game probably helped him out some."
Colon, 39, improved to 18-6 against the Rangers, his most career wins against any team. He pounded the strike zone, throwing 77 of his 100 pitches for strikes, walking one batter and striking out five.
"I'm always in rhythms like that," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I try to go fast."
The Rangers didn't put a man in scoring position after the second inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. Colon got Mitch Moreland to ground into a double play to end the inning, and after that, Melvin said, Colon was "semi-cruising."
Melvin said it was a tough decision not to send Colon out to try to complete the shutout. But with sluggers Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre due up in the ninth inning, he elected to go with Brian Fuentes, who set the Rangers down in order for his fifth save.
After posting a 7.92 ERA in five starts in May, Colon has allowed just two runs in 15 innings of two June starts.
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes had a hand in both of the A's runs. He doubled to lead off the second inning and scored on a single by Brandon Inge. In the fourth, after Josh Reddick led off with a double, Cespedes drove in Reddick with a single to left field.
Cespedes also tripled in the sixth but didn't get a chance to complete the cycle.
"When he has good offensive nights, it always feels like we win," Melvin said of Cespedes, who also robbed Hamilton of a hit with a sliding catch in the third. "Since he's come back (from injury June 1), it seemed like (this) was his best game as far as the quality of his swings."
Rangers starter Colby Lewis threw his first complete game of the year with a pitch count nearly identical to that of Colon: 101 pitches, 78 strikes.