OAKLAND – Bartolo Colon brought the first half of the 2013 season to a successful conclusion Friday night as the A's reached the 81-game mark of the 162-game season with a 6-1 win over St. Louis.
It was the eighth win in the past eight starts for Colon, who is 11-2 with a 2.79 ERA. He would be strongly considered for an All-Star Game start if the Tigers' Max Scherzer hadn't beaten Tampa Bay on Friday to run his record to 12-0. Scherzer's ERA is higher than Colon's, however, at 3.10.
Seven of Colon's eight starts occurred after he turned 40, and he's the first pitcher in major-league history to win his first seven starts after reaching that age.
For the first half, Oakland has 47 wins and is on pace for 94 wins, exactly the total the A's had in winning the American League West title last year. The Rangers hold a one-half game lead now, however.
The A's rank fourth in the league in runs scored and sixth in runs allowed. Mostly, they have spent the last six weeks getting quality starting pitching like Colon's effort.
He threw eight innings, allowing six hits and one run. Thanks to a five-run uprising against St. Louis eight-game winner Shelby Miller, Colon was in command throughout the game before turning the ninth inning over to Dan Otero.
Colon, who had a 1.41 ERA in his previous seven starts, set down the first 13 batters he faced before former A's outfielder Matt Holliday, who spent the night getting razzed by Coliseum fans, walked. Singles by Matt Adams and David Freese first ended the no-hit bid and then the shutout.
Setting the stage for a comfortable night for Colon was an Oakland offense that waited out Miller. After a 10-pitch first inning, Miller threw 51 pitches in the second inning and never did get the third out as the A's scored five times off him on five hits and two walks.
A Yoenis Cespedes single opened things up, and after he took second on a grounder, Josh Donaldson singled him home. Josh Reddick followed with a double, and the lead was 2-0.
With two outs, Eric Sogard walked, as did Coco Crisp, loading the bases for Seth Smith, who singled on a 3-2 pitch to double the lead to 4-0.
Jed Lowrie went on to knock Miller out of the game with an RBI double, although Lowrie was denied a second RBI when the ball bounced up and hit the foul pole.
Oakland bats didn't make all that much noise after that, except in the fourth inning when, on an 0-2 pitch, Catcher Stephen Vogt shed an 0-for-32 start to his big-league career by lining a shot over the right-field fence.
Note – Miller's 51 pitches in the second inning were the most in an inning by a big-league pitcher this season. Dating to 1988, the record for pitches thrown in one inning, according to sfgwire.com, is 61 by Colon for Cleveland against Seattle in 1997.