Colon makes his first start as a 40-year-old Sunday when he attempts to lead the visiting Athletics to their 11th straight victory over the AL-worst Astros.
Behind a season-high 18 hits and double-digit runs for the first time since April 30, Oakland (27-23) cruised to its seventh win in eight games with an 11-5 victory in Houston (14-35) on Saturday.
Josh Donaldson homered and tied a career high with four hits to lead the A's, who have outscored the Astros 75-37 during 10 consecutive wins in the series. The third baseman leads the team with a .322 batting average, .398 on-base percentage and 30 RBIs."He went through one little period where he was down some, but he's been consistent all year," said manager Bob Melvin , whose club hasn't lost to Houston since June 12, 2007.
Now Oakland looks to complete a three-game sweep with Colon (4-2, 4.31 ERA) on the mound.
After going 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA during a three-start stretch, the right-hander has given up five runs and 10 hits over 13 innings in his last two outings.
Colon won for the first time in nearly a month after allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings in a 9-2 victory at Texas on Monday."I mean, he's 40 and we'd like to try to get him through a season," Melvin said of Colon throwing 95 pitches. "So anything over 100 for me is starting to get a little uncomfortable for me."
Colon has already beaten Houston twice this season, yielding four runs over 12 innings in two April outings. He's 5-2 with a 3.42 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros.
This time, he faces a Houston team that has batted .219 with runners in scoring position while losing three of five on its eight-game homestand.
Jason Castro went 3 for 4 with two homers and three RBIs Saturday and is 3 for 6 with a homer against Colon this season.
Matt Dominguez has hit three homers in the first two games of this series, giving him seven over his last 12 contests."He's really tapping into what we always knew was in there," manager Bo Porter said. "The pull power is definitely there, and he has proven to the league that he can make adjustments."
While the left-hander hasn't been sharp with six walks and 16 hits allowed in his last two starts spanning 12 1-3 innings, Keuchel did earn his first victory in a 6-5 win over Kansas City on Monday. He yielded four runs and nine hits with four walks and a season-best six strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.
Seth Smith went 3 for 5 on Saturday and is 2 for 3 with a home run against Keuchel, who has given up one run and six hits over six innings of relief against the A's this season.
Houston native Chris Young continues to hit well at Minute Maid Park, going 6 for 10 with a homer and five RBIs in the first two games of this series to raise his average to .429 in 20 career games there.
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|May 01, 2013||Brett Anderson||15-Day DL||Right foot stress fracture|
|April 30, 2013||Chris Young||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|May 21, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|May 13, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back spasms|
|April 24, 2013||Justin Maxwell||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|April 05, 2013||Travis Blackley||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Two days after his 40th birthday, Bartolo Colon pitched with youthful verve.
Colon struck out a season-high nine in seven scoreless innings, and the Oakland Athletics completed a sweep of the Houston Astros with a 6-2 win.
Oakland's Nate Freiman , who was with the Astros in spring training as a Rule 5 selection, homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the A's improved to 9-0 against the Astros this season.
Colon, who was hitting 94-95 mph on the radar throughout the game, said through an interpreter that the way he pitches, sometimes he likes to change his velocity.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Colon's velocity surprised him.
"Every now and then you could see him peek up there and see what the velocity was," Melvin said. "There are certain things that we can see when he knows that he's got his velocity, a little something that he does differently. Really for a guy who'll touch 93 and you'll see a 94 sprinkled in every now and then, he hovered around 94 and hit 95. So 40 years old, pretty impressive."
Colon (5-2) won his second straight start, scattering nine hits. He worked seven innings for the second straight start and for the fourth time in 10 starts this season.
Colon improved to 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his three starts against the Astros this season and 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA against the AL West.
Melvin thought Colon was economical with his pitches despite the hits.
"He knows how to make a pitch when he needs to and I thought his stuff actually was as good today as we've seen all year," Melvin said. "There are certain games where he knows that he has the velocity and when he can go to that, and there are certain games where he pitches a little differently. That all comes with experience and knowing yourself very well."
Freiman said he has been working in the batting cages and doing everything he can to be ready for when he is called upon to play.
"It's something that I'm excited to learn how to be a role player on this team," Freiman said. "Right now that role is to get an occasional start against left-handed starters."
Dating to 2007, Oakland has won 11 straight against Houston, tied for the third longest winning streak against one team in A's history.
"Right now if you were to look you would say, yes, they have our number," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "They've beat us nine times in nine tries and today they were just better than us."
The Astros are 14-36 in their first year in the AL, their worst 50-game start in club history.
After leaving runners on third in two of the first three innings, Oakland sent nine batter to the plate in a five-run fourth against Dallas Keuchel (1-2).
Yoenis Cespedes led off by reaching second base on an error by second baseman Jose Altuve . Josh Donaldson followed with an RBI single up the middle. After Jed Lowrie singled, Seth Smith had a run-scoring double and Freiman made it 4-0 with another double. Crisp added a two-out RBI single.
Freiman made it 6-0 with a home run to center field with one out in the in sixth.
J.D. Martinez had a one-out double off reliever Ryan Cook in the eighth and Chris Carter hit a sacrifice fly to cut it to 6-2 but that was all Houston would get.
Keuchel went six innings, giving up six runs - four earned - and a season-high nine hits. He struck out four.
"I think it was a mixture between me not locating and they taking advantage of it," Keuchel said. "Throw away that fourth inning and it's a 1-0 ballgame. I felt good today, but give credit to them."
Jason Castro had a career-high four hits and went 10 for 12 in the series for Houston. Castro became the first Astros player since Ty Wigginton in 2008 to have three consecutive games of at least three hits.
"I know my strengths, and part of this process is trying to match yourself up with whoever you're facing," Castro said. "It's an in-game evolution where you're always making adjustments, and I'm feeling pretty comfortable with making those adjustments on the fly right now."
NOTES: Oakland OF Josh Reddick will begin a rehab assignment Monday at Class-A Stockton, Melvin said. Reddick has been on the disabled list since May 8 with a sprained right wrist. . Lowrie started at second base Sunday after being out of the starting lineup the previous three games after being hit by a pitch on his right foot Tuesday. . Houston RHP Bud Norris will take the mound Monday against Colorado RHP Jhoulys Chacin . Norris has left each of his last two starts with back spasms. . Oakland will send RHP Dan Straily to the mound Monday to begin the Bay Area Series against the San Francisco Giants , who will counter with LHP Madison Bumgarner .