Athletics 4, Blue Jays 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
Bartolo Colon finally received some early run support from his Oakland teammates. He didn't need much at all as it turned out, even if his fastball was lacking its regular zip.
The 39-year-old Colon scattered seven hits over eight innings, extending his shutout streak to 16 1-3 innings and leading the Athletics to a 4-1 win over the slumping Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
''Early in the game I didn't know if he had his best stuff, to tell you the truth,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''I don't know if our gun was off today, but you saw a lot of 86s, 87s (mph), which you don't normally see out of him. But he finds a way. He makes you make the adjustment.''
Colon (8-8) didn't do much out of the ordinary while winning his second consecutive start. The right-hander relied primarily on his fastball, changing speeds just enough to keep the Blue Jays off balance.
He retired 15 of 18 during one stretch and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by getting Rajai Davis to ground out. Colon had three strikeouts and one walk.
The A's staked him to a 3-0 lead following Josh Reddick's two-run homer in the third.
That's something Oakland hasn't done much with Colon on the mound. In 12 of his 21 previous starts, the A's were held to two runs or fewer,
''I don't pay much attention to it,'' said Colon, who has not allowed a run since the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on July 22. ''It's more important for me to do the best that I can when I'm on the mound and let the team do whatever they want.''
Oakland, held to no more than one run in three of its previous four games, moved past the Los Angeles Angels into second place in the AL West. The A's are 4 1/2 games behind Texas.
The Blue Jays have lost five straight, matching their season high.
''We're in a stretch where runs are at a premium,'' Toronto manager John Farrell said. ''It's difficult to string hits together right now. You have to credit Colon. He stayed out of the middle of the plate.''
Eric Sogard singled leading off the third, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Smith's single to right.
Reddick followed with his 23rd home run, a towering shot into the bleachers above the right-field scoreboard to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
''(Colon) has done great all year and we haven't gotten him the run support that he deserves, so for me to be able to do that was huge,'' said Reddick, who was mired in a career-worst 0-for-21 slump before singling in the first. ''I went home last night and had a long talk with (my) dad, and it seemed to work out.''
The A's missed an opportunity to add on when Davis misplayed Coco Crisp's fly to left. Davis appeared to lose the ball in the lights as it sailed past his glove and rolled to the fence.
Crisp, who slowed to a trot on his way to first, raced to third but was stranded there after Brandon Moss later grounded out with the bases loaded.
Colon did the rest.
Henderson Alvarez (7-8) struggled with his control and lost for the second time in six decisions. He had a career-high five walks, pitched with runners on base in all but one of his five-plus innings, and struck out one.
Oakland made it 4-0 in the seventh when Inge singled home Chris Carter to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Blue Jays scored in the ninth to avoid the shutout.
David Cooper doubled leading off against Sean Doolittle, went to third on Davis' infield single and scored two batters later on Moises Sierra's groundout.
Four of Toronto's 10 hits didn't leave the infield.
NOTES: Smith, the A's DH, left the game after straining his left hamstring trying to run out a comebacker in the fifth inning. ... Escobar has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. ... Oakland SS Cliff Pennington (left elbow) may begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, but the team has no plans to call him up soon. ''We'll probably ease into it a little bit,'' Melvin said. ... Oakland made a pair of roster moves, adding INF Adam Rosales from Sacramento while INF Brandon Hicks was optioned down. Hicks was batting.183 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 20 games. ... Rookie RHP Dan Straily will make his first major league start for the A's on Friday. Straily has more strikeouts (175) than any other pitcher in professional baseball, including major league leader Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. LHP Brett Cecil (2-4) goes for Toronto.