The Oakland Athletics can't get much going on offense.
The 40-year-old right-hander will try to become the first A's pitcher in nearly four decades to win seven consecutive road starts in Wednesday's series finale.
Since building their largest divisional lead (six games) in seven seasons on July 29, the A's (64-48) have dropped five of six to maintain a slim edge over second-place Texas.
Oakland has 10 total runs during that stretch after Derek Norris ' pinch-hit two-out homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-1 loss prevented the club's second straight shutout.
"You go through these periods, yet you try to minimize them so they don't go on too long," said manager Bob Melvin , whose team has scored two or fewer in six straight interleague games.
The A's will try to salvage the split of this two-game set with Colon (14-3, 2.50 ERA) making his first start since learning he wouldn't face a suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.
The 2005 AL Cy Young winner has done a nice job pitching through that distraction, as he's thrown six or more innings with three runs or fewer allowed in each of his last 15 starts. Colon gave up two runs - one earned - in six innings of last Wednesday's 5-2, 10-inning loss to Toronto, surrendering three walks for just the second time this season.
Colon is among the majors' best with 1.28 walks per nine innings."But at the end of the day he gives you six innings and only gives up two runs," said Melvin, whose club had won 12 of Colon's previous 13 outings. "If that's a bad day for him, we'll take that anytime."
The A's would surely take another solid road start from Colon, who has a 1.40 ERA in his last six outside the Bay Area. He could become the first A's pitcher since Catfish Hunter from July 14-Sept. 1, 1974, to win a seventh straight start as a visitor.
Colon has faced the Reds three times in his career, winning each time in Cincinnati, with the last of those in 2007 while with the Los Angeles Angels .
Cincinnati (62-51) will counter with Homer Bailey (6-10, 3.55) as it tries to put together back-to-back wins following a 2-7 skid. The right-hander is looking to build off his first victory since throwing his second career no-hitter July 2 against San Francisco.
The right-hander had lost a career-worst four consecutive starts following that performance before coming up two outs shy of a complete game in Thursday's 4-1 win at San Diego. The victory also helped Cincinnati avoid a season-worst sixth consecutive defeat."Homer really, really wanted it bad because he knew we needed it and he needed it," manager Dusty Baker said after Bailey allowed one unearned run. "That was big for us."
Bailey allowed four runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss at Oakland on June 26.
Jed Lowrie , 2 for 3 off Bailey in that contest, is hitting .292 (7 for 24) over the last six games, but Coco Crisp , Josh Donaldson , Brandon Moss , and Yoenis Cespedes are hitting a combined .224 (19 for 85) during that span.
Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
|July 25, 2013||John Jaso||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 20, 2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|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|
|July 20, 2013||Derrick Robinson||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|July 10, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|June 28, 2013||Johnny Cueto||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right lat|
|June 14, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor mass strain|
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Corky Miller got a chance to play a major league game in front of his sons on Wednesday, and the journeyman catcher made the most of the opportunity.
Miller had a pair of run-scoring doubles and a key defensive play, helping the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-5 victory over Bartolo Colon and the slumping Oakland Athletics .
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer and a run-scoring grounder for Cincinnati, which won consecutive games for the first time since July 24 in San Francisco and July 25 in Los Angeles. Joey Votto had two hits and Zack Cozart scored twice.
Miller has spent most of the season with Triple-A Louisville. He could be headed back to the minors soon with Ryan Hanigan on his way back from a wrist injury.
With sons Caden, 8, and Chase, 5, in town for the Reds' family game, Miller increased his total to five RBIs in 14 games this season.
"It was fun looking up and seeing them," Miller said.
AL West-leading Oakland, which began the day with a one-game advantage over Texas, scored as many runs as it had in its previous three games, but still lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Colon (14-4) was knocked out in the third inning in his shortest outing of the season. The All-Star right-hander, who was pitching on six days' rest but weakened by a stomach virus, had made 15 consecutive starts of at least six innings and three or fewer earned runs.
"Bartolo didn't have his best stuff," manager Bob Melvin said. "His velocity was down a little bit. He had a stomach virus in the bullpen. He's had it before but worked through it."
"It's no excuse," Colon said. "I pitched bad. I wasn't throwing strikes like I did before the All-Star game. The velocity was down a little, but it is no excuse. I don't need to rest. The way the team hit today, I believe we can win. If they keep hitting like that we will win."
Miller's first run-scoring double gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead in the second inning. The Reds added three more in the third, with Bruce going deep for the second straight game and Miller driving in Cozart for the second time on the day.
Colon allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings. He was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his previous five starts, including a four-hitter in a 6-0 victory at the Los Angeles Angels on July 21.
Homer Bailey (7-10) won his second straight start despite allowing nine hits and five runs in 5 1-3 innings.
"They put the bat on the ball pretty well," he said. "You saw it last night with Mat (Latos). He didn't get a lot of strikeouts. When you put it into play, things happen."
Bailey left with a runner on third, but Manny Parra wriggled out of the jam. Parra, Sam LeCure and J.J. Hoover combined for 2 2-3 innings of two-hit ball before Aroldis Chapman tossed a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 31 opportunities.
Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Oakland, which finished with 11 hits. Donaldson hit a solo drive in the second for his 17th homer.
Stephen Vogt singled in a run in the fourth for the A's, but Bruce made a perfect throw to cut down Alberto Callaspo trying to score from second on the base hit to right.
"I always expect them to go," Bruce said. "When you don't, that's when you're caught off guard and look like an idiot."
Callaspo left with a left forearm contusion. The Reds originally reported that Miller had a right quad contusion, but he said after the game he banged knees with Callaspo. He still caught one more inning.
"Catchers are football players," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "They're tough. I wish everybody was a tough as they are."
Oakland also had Sogard retired in a rundown off third in the sixth.
Bruce jumped on the first pitch he saw in the third, sending a long drive into the netting above the visitor's bullpen down the right-field line. The one-out shot came with Votto aboard after a leadoff single.
It was Bruce's team-leading 24th homer. He also is second on the Reds to Brandon Phillips with 78 RBIs.
NOTES: Sogard extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... The Reds activated RHP Jonathan Broxton from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Pedro Villareal to Triple-A Louisville. Broxton had been on the DL since June 15 with a strained right elbow. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson , out since May 1 with a sprained right ankle, is expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. He threw 31 pitches with Single-A Stockton on Tuesday. ... Melvin planned on Tuesday to have Derek Norris start at catcher on Wednesday, but days off on Monday and Thursday prompted him to stick with his usual lineup against right-handed starters, which includes Vogt at catcher. ... Reds 3B Todd Frazier batter second for the first time in his career. He went 0 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch while extending his career-worst slide to 0 for 31. It's the longest hitless slump by a Reds position player since Drew Stubbs was 0 for 32 in 2012.