OAKLAND – No pitcher has defeated the Texas Rangers more than 40-year-old Bartolo Colon. No American League pitcher won more games in August than 22-year-old Rangers left-hander Martin Perez.
With each taking the mound Tuesday night for their respective teams, who began the day tied atop the A.L. West, more immediate history was borne out. While Perez held the A's to one run in his seven innings, Colon tiptoed through trouble until the fifth, when the Rangers scored three times off him in their 5-1 win.
Colon allowed a runner to reach third with one out in two of the first three innings but escaped both jams. In the fifth, though, a one-out comebacker by Craig Gentry that bounced off Colon's glove for an error built into a big inning that broke a 1-1 tie.
Jurickson Profar doubled off the base of the wall in right field to drive in Gentry. After Ian Kinsler singled, Adrian Beltre's groundout scored Profar, and A.J. Pierzynski hit a blooper into center field for a single that drove in Kinsler.
Colon threw 30 pitches in the inning and might have had more if not for Michael Choice, who in his first start for the A's in right field made a sliding catch to rob Alex Rios of a hit.
"I think everything was fine. I could locate the ball well," Colon said. "The one play that made the difference was the ground ball that I dropped. That was a routine play."
It was just the fifth time Colon has allowed four or more runs in a start this season, though only one – Mitch Moreland's homer in the fourth – was earned. Three have come in his last four starts, and in none of those four has he gone beyond the fifth inning. In those starts, including the two before his 15-day disabled list stint for a groin strain, foes are batting .387 off Colon.
"It's not like they knocked him around (Tuesday)," manager Bob Melvin said. "But at 80-plus pitches, and he took a ball off the hand, I just didn't think it was wise to push him any further at that point."
Colon was checked by a trainer after Kinsler's single hit his bare hand but said afterward: "I'm good." He fell short of becoming the first pitcher with 20 career wins against Texas – four have 19.
Perez, the Rangers rookie who went 5-0 last month, held the A's scoreless after the first inning, when Coco Crisp led off with a double, moved to third on Josh Donaldson's fly ball to center and scored on Jed Lowrie's sacrifice fly. The A's had baserunners in every inning except the fourth but went 1 for 9 with men in scoring position.
With Donaldson on second and two outs in the third, Yoenis Cespedes hit a grounder that appeared headed for left field before Profar stopped it on a dive. But Donaldson rounded third anyway and was thrown out at the plate.
Donaldson also made a spectacular catch diving over a tarp in foul ground in the sixth, but his aggressiveness in the third was costly.
Donaldson said he thought he heard "Go" as he rounded the bag, but he realized too late that third-base coach Mike Gallego was telling him to stop. "It's one of those things," he said, "that kind of sucks."
Et cetera – The A's recalled starter Tommy Milone and relievers Evan Scribner and Pat Neshek from the minors. Reliever Hideki Okajima was designated for assignment to make room for Neshek on the 40-man roster. The A's also released catcher Luke Montz.
Brandon Moss was named the A.L. Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday. He batted .364 and led all major-league hitters with four homers, 11 RBIs and 21 total bases.
Catcher Derek Norris was back with the A's on Tuesday after a three-game rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Sacramento. Norris, who is eligible to come off the 15-day DL Thursday, said his fractured left big toe is "a tolerable annoyance." "I'm going to feel it. It's a broken bone," he said. "But it's not preventing me from doing anything I would do without a broken toe."