The win snapped the A's three-game losing streak -- they scored a combined six runs over that span -- and evened the three-game set leading into Wednesday's afternoon finale. Moreover, Oakland climbed back into second place in the American League West, leaving the Angels looking up by way of a half-game distance.
"We weren't playing near as well as we had earlier, certainly as we had in the month of July, and for Bartolo to go out and do what he did against a very good lineup gives us the feeling that we don't have to do too much offensively, just get some good at-bats and push some runs across and he'll take care of the rest," manager Bob Melvin said.
The 39-year-old Colon struck out five and allowed no walks, allowing just four hits in seven impressive innings, with 23 of his 27 opponents seeing a first-pitch strike.
Not that it surprised anyone.
"I don't think Bartolo did anything that we haven't seen before," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Pitched a strong game, good movement, used both sides of the plate, and pounded strikes."
"It's frustrating," said Mike Trout, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts off the veteran, 19 years his senior, before homering off Travis Blackley to cap his 21st birthday. "Bartolo came out throwing strikes, keeping us off-balance. He was making good pitches and he threw the ball well tonight. It's all fastballs. Just works inside and works outside, tries to run that one back off the plate. He had his stuff working tonight."
Counterpart C.J. Wilson didn't fare as well, lasting just five innings after surrendering six runs, three earned, on nine hits with five walks and four strikeouts.
Four home runs were tallied by the A's, the first of which was tagged off Wilson. He surrendered a solo shot to Jonny Gomes in the first that gave Oakland the exact boost it needed against a lefty who, in 17 prior appearances (four starts) at the Coliseum, had posted a 2.61 ERA. Along the way, Wilson has garnered himself quite the unfavorable reputation with A's fans, whom he criticized, along with Oakland's mound, last year while with the Rangers.
"No one's bigger than the game," Gomes said. "There are 30 organizations. I don't know why you gotta bag on anyone, so that's for him to have in his back pocket, but I'll tell you the truth, there was zero more momentum to beat him than to beat anyone."
Gomes provided plenty momentum all on his own.
"To get an early lead kind of gave us a little bit of swagger back and some momentum, and then we had much better at-bats after that," Melvin said.
Two innings later, Oakland posted a four-spot, much thanks to a two-run error by third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who let Derek Norris' potential inning-ending double-play ball slip past him into left field.
Norris was at the center of more dramatics in the sixth, with righty reliever David Carpenter on the mound. The catcher stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on first, ultimately unloading on a 2-1 sinker and driving the ball to left field for what was initially ruled a double but quickly overturned on review for a two-run homer.
Adam Rosales followed with a shot of his own, his first of the season, to mark the fourth time the A's have hit back-to-back home runs this season. Josh Reddick, not wanting to feel left out, launched his team-leading 25th home run to right field in the seventh off Jerome Williams, giving the A's double-digit runs.
Blackley, relieving Colon in the eighth, gave up a home run to Trout and another to Erick Aybar, a two-run dinger, in the ninth.
But nothing was going to prevent Colon, or his teammates, from going home with a win.
"It started with Bart," Gomes said. "The name of the game is throwing strikes. The guy's a dinosaur. He's been doing it forever. He knows what he's doing. He knows these hitters. You'd think he almost throws too many strikes. That hasn't got exposed yet, so he continues to do what he does best. He's a lot of fun to play behind."