The 40-year-old Bartolo Colon has been sensational in his 16th big league campaign.
He appears to be just as surprised as the rest of us.
Colon caps off a remarkable first half Sunday as the Oakland Athletics conclude a three-game set against the visiting Boston Red Sox in a matchup of division leaders.
Colon (12-3, 2.69 ERA) has been especially good over his last 10 starts, going 9-1 with a 1.48 ERA to climb within one win of tying Matt Moore and Max Scherzer for the most in the majors. He received his third All-Star nod, with the previous two coming in 1998 and 2005.
"I've never had a year like this," Colon, who also won the AL Cy Young Award in 2005, told MLB's official website. "I believe this year is my best year. It was always in my thoughts, but I never imagined having the kind of numbers that I do right now before the All-Star break."
Third in the AL in ERA, Colon outpitched fellow All-Star Jeff Locke in Monday's 2-1 win at Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings.
"He probably has one of the best personalities I've ever played with," center fielder Coco Crisp said. "He just goes about his day and does the best he can and doesn't let too many things bother him. He's been doing good for us the whole year and is fun to play behind."
Colon, Oakland's lone All-Star representative, still has a chance to pitch in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic despite starting Sunday.
"As an organization, based on his age and where we are with him and how much we lean on him, that we would like him to get the time off," manager Bob Melvin said. "Pitching on Sunday, you look at it and say, 'Is that prudent?' But we'll leave it up to him. It's his decision."
Colon went the distance in a rain-shortened 13-0 win at Boston on April 23, striking out seven over seven innings of three-hit ball. He is 1-1 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox since 2011.
After taking Friday's opener 4-2, the Red Sox (58-38) saw their four-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 3-0 defeat. They couldn't come through against A.J. Griffin, who threw eight innings before Grant Balfour recorded his team-record 43rd consecutive save.
"I just tried to act like number 40 in situations like that," said Griffin, who worked his way out of a pair of two-on, two-out jams. "That's something I've learned a lot just watching Bartolo pitch."
Oakland (55-39), which is a major league-best 19-5 at home since May 17, has 55 victories before the All-Star break for the first time since 1975.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, give the ball to Brandon Workman (0-0, 13.50) for his first major league start. The right-hander surrendered three runs in two innings of relief in his big league debut Wednesday in an 11-4 win at Seattle.
Workman went 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Pawtucket before getting called up Tuesday.
"We know he's going to throw strikes, that's the one thing he's proven over his minor league career," manager John Farrell said of Workman, Boston's minor league pitcher of the year last season. "We're looking forward to seeing him in the starter's role."
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
|June 28, 2013||Stephen Drew||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring tightness|
|June 23, 2013||Franklin Morales||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral|
|June 29, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring cramp|
|June 20, 2013||Derek Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin injury|
|June 11, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Jarrod Parker||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained neck|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Josh Donaldson performed like an All-Star, though he'll be spending his break somewhere other than Citi Field New York.
Donaldson homered, then blooped an RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning as the Oakland Athletics beat Boston 3-2 Sunday despite a stellar start by Red Sox rookie Brandon Workman .
"I got jammed and was able to dink it in," Donaldson said. "It was awesome."
He heads into the break hitting .310 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs. Numbers only AL All-Star third basemen Miguel Cabrera and backup Manny Machado can rival.
"In our hearts and minds he's an All-Star," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Not only did he knock in the winning run, he knocked in all three runs. That's a pretty good first half but there was no room for him."
Workman took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning of his first major league start. Coco Crisp broke it up with a leadoff infield single.
He became the first Red Sox pitcher in 79 years to allow three or fewer baserunners in his first major league start.
Workman had pitched in only one big league game, getting roughed up over two innings in relief at Seattle on Wednesday. He became the third rookie in four days to pitch no-hit ball into the sixth inning of his first big league start - Houston's Jarred Cosart and Cleveland's Danny Salazar did it in their major league debuts.
Donaldson hit a two-run homer off Workman to tie it in the seventh, then singled with two outs in the 11th. Matt Thornton (0-4) lost in his Red Sox debut.
"That was pretty much all I have right there," Donaldson said of his blast. "He made a mistake. I hit it hard."
Ryan Cook (2-2) worked two innings for the victory.
"It's kind of our motto since the end of last year to just keep grinding," Cook said. "We have a good feeling every day."
Pinch-hitter Chris Young drew a leadoff walk in the Oakland 11th and moved up on a sacrifice. After a two-out walk, Donaldson singled to right field.
"I know he's an aggressive hitter and he's looking to win the game right there," Thornton said. "I'm looking to make a pitch down and in. I thought I made a pretty good pitch and he was able to fist it over there and drop it right in the perfect spot. If you don't walk the leadoff guy, that situation doesn't come around."
Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt each drove in a run for the Red Sox, who have not won a series in Oakland since July of 2006.
Workman gave up two hits, walked one and struck out five in 6 1-3 innings. The 24-year-old righty was a combined 8-2 at Triple-A and Double-A this season.
"He was very poised, very good mound presence, good composure," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I thought he had very good stuff. He stayed out of the middle of the plate for most of the day, multiple pitches for strikes."
All-Star Bartolo Colon gave up two runs on eight hits over 6 1-3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. The Oakland pitcher will not play in the All-Star game after starting Sunday.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs without benefit of a hit in the 11th before Cook caught Holt looking at a called third strike.
Colon retired 14 in a row before giving up Ellsbury's single leading off the sixth. After Daniel Nava singled, Pedroia followed with an RBI single to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Mike Carp doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on Holt's single, which ended Colon's day.
Jonny Gomes was ejected from the game after striking out to lead off the ninth. Gomes tried to call time, but it was not granted and he took a weak swing for the third strike.
NOTES: Donaldson has 16 home runs, the most home runs by an A's third baseman since Eric Chavez hit 26 in 2005. ... Oakland All-Star reliever Grant Balfour struck out the side in the ninth. ... Red Sox LHP Drake Britton was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and OF Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned to Pawtucket. ... Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (9-0, 1.71) threw a second bullpen session before the game and will likely throw one more on Tuesday before making a rehab start. ... Red Sox IF Stephen Drew could return to action on Friday when the Yankees visit Fenway Park. Manager John Farrell also suggested he might be able to get a few at-bats Thursday with Pawtucket. ... A's LHP Brett Anderson is close to throwing off a mound. Manager Bob Melvin said once he throws a bullpen session, the team will have a better idea of his rehab schedule. Melvin, along with Pedroia, were recently added to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame. ... Balfour, the only major league closer without a blown save, was added to the AL All-Star team when Colon threw his first pitch. ... The A's enter the All-Star break with a winning record for the first time in five years. ... Gomes recorded his third career ejection and his first since June 5, 2008. ... Colon made career appearance No. 400. He did not walk a batter for the 10th time in 19 starts.