Colon finds fountain of youth in Oakland

In a battle of division leaders and All-Star pitchers, the Oakland Athletics continued their dominance of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 2-1 win on Monday night.

The A’s are now a perfect 10-0 vs the Pirates all-time, the best record by any team vs another in the modern era (since 1900), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Oakland improved to 17-11 in one-run games this season, the second-most one-run wins among AL teams. Their overall record stands at 53-37, the franchise’s best 90-game mark since 1990 (57-33). That 1990 squad was the last Oakland team to make the World Series.

Colon Keeps Winning

Bartolo Colon emerged as the winner in a pitcher’s duel between two of the unlikeliest All-Star pitchers this season.

He is now 12-3 this year, his most wins in a season since he went 21-8 and won the Cy Young Award in 2005. His 12 wins before the break are the most by an A’s pitcher since Mark Mulder had the same amount in 2004.

Longest Streak w/ 6+ IP & 3 or Fewer Runs
A's in Live Ball Era (Since 1920)

Colon has thrown 11 straight starts of at least six innings pitched and no more than three runs allowed, compiling a 9-1 record and 1.71 ERA in that span.

Nine of those starts have come since he turned 40 years old on May 24. Elias tells us that is the longest such streak by a player aged 40 or older since John Smoltz had a 10-game streak in 2007.

Colon got the Pirates to swing at 21 of the 50 pitches (42 percent) he threw out of the strike zone, his highest chase rate in any start over the last five seasons.

He went to a two-strike count on 17 of 30 batters faced and retired 14 of them, allowing only two singles and a walk in those counts. In his previous five starts he had allowed batters to hit .318 with two strikes.

Locke Finally Loses

Jeff Locke entered this game without a loss in his last 16 starts, the second-longest undefeated streak by a Pirates starting pitcher in franchise history. Despite allowing only two runs on three hits, Locke suffered his first loss since April 7.

The game-winning RBI was a sacrifice fly by Josh Donaldson in the fourth inning. It was the sixth sacrifice fly allowed by Locke this season, one shy of the most in the majors.

Stat of the Game

Grant Balfour converted his 41st consecutive save, breaking the franchise record previously held by Dennis Eckersley. Balfour has not blown a save since April 29, 2012 at Baltimore and has posted a 1.93 ERA during the streak.