Bartolo finds vintage form as A's top Tribe

Bartolo finds vintage form as A's top Tribe

Bartolo finds vintage form as A's top Tribe
OAKLAND -- The young A's got some help from one of baseball's oldest pitchers Saturday night as they continued their surprising playoff push.

Right-hander Bartolo Colon, who turned 39 in May, turned back the clock in an 8-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians. He allowed just one run and five hits over eight innings, winning for the fourth time in his past five starts and improving to 10-9 for the season.

Colon became the third pitcher in Oakland history to post double-digit wins at 36 or older, joining Don Sutton and Tom Candiotti.

That was news to Colon.

"I feel happy about it," said Colon. "I want the team to continue to play like that."

A's manager Bob Melvin had no idea that Colon had made a bit of history, either.

"How old is he?" Melvin asked. "Wow. That is an accomplishment. For him, it doesn't surprise me, based on what we saw this spring all the way up to now. There was a pretty good chance, for me, he was going to win double-digit games from the first game he started for us. We've said all along he enjoys what he's doing at this point in time of his career. He's having a lot of fun with it. He's having a lot of fun with his team, and he's a great example for all of our younger pitchers."

Colon, a strike-throwing machine, struck out three and didn't walk a batter. He threw 103 pitches -- most of them fastballs -- and 74 of those were strikes. No wonder he's having fun.

"This is a game, first of all," Colon said. "It's to enjoy. It always feels good because everybody's happy on the team."

Yoenis Cespedes, who was just 11 years old when Colon made his Major League debut with Cleveland on April 4, 1997, at the age of 23, provided more than enough offensive support.

Cespedes capped the A's four-run rally in the fourth with a two-run shot to left, his 16th of the season. He went 2-for-4, drove in three runs and raised his average to .306 as he continued to be one of baseball's hottest hitters since the All-Star break. He is hitting .377 since the break, best in the American League.

Despite that average, Cespedes had gone 16 straight games without a homer before hitting one on Thursday at Kansas City. Now he has two in three days.

Was he pressing?

"He never presses," Melvin said. "He gets frustrated, he gets mad, all of the above, but he never presses. He doesn't get down on himself where he's pressing and hoping to get a hit. So, you're going to go through some stretches. Shoot, when we signed him if we knew he'd have the numbers then that he has right now, boy, we'd have taken it in a heartbeat. He continues to get better and better. Looking back at it, that was a terrific signing for us."

Colon retired the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a one-out double to Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth inning.

Shin-Soo Choo followed with a sharp single to right, but Cabrera stopped at third as Josh Reddick fired a laser to catcher George Kottaras. Colon then got cleanup hitter Carlos Santana to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"There are not many guys like him throwing right now," Cabrera said. "He's still throwing because he's still got something. He's a good pitcher."

The A's struck for four runs in the third, all of them unearned, off Indians starter Corey Kluber. Cliff Pennington reached on a throwing error by Cabrera, and Jemile Weeks moved Pennington to second with a sacrifice bunt.

After Coco Crisp walked, he and Pennington executed a double steal. Josh Donaldson brought Pennington home with a groundout to shortstop. Reddick doubled to deep left-center, driving in Crisp to make it 2-0. Then Cespedes launched a shot to left, his 16th home run of the season, on Kluber's 1-1 pitch.

The A's increased their lead to 5-0 in the sixth when Chris Carter ripped a one-out double off reliever Frank Hermann and later scored on Kottaras' sharp single to right.

Santana cut the lead to 5-1 in the seventh, hitting the first pitch he saw from Colon for a home run to right-center with two outs. With a runner on first and two outs in the eighth, Melvin took a trip to the mound to check on Colon. Colon convinced Melvin to give him one more hitter, but not before he busted out laughing over something shortstop Cliff Pennington said.

"Penny's going, 'You look fat a little bit, so you'll probably be tired,'" Colon said, smiling.

Colon had enough energy to strike out Jason Kipnis swinging, throwing a rare changeup.

The A's countered with a run in the seventh when Cespedes singled home Weeks.

The Indians made it interesting in the ninth, scoring four times on a pair of two-run shots, the first by Choo off Evan Scribner and the second by Brent Lillibridge off Jerry Blevins. But with a runner on first, Grant Balfour came on to get the final out, fanning Ezequiel Carrera to earn his 11th save.

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.