OAKLAND, Calif. — Bartolo Colon is getting back into the groove that made him the Athletics most dominant pitcher early in the season.
He’s even got a new spot in the major league record books to prove it.
Colon allowed one run and five hits over six innings to win for the first time in more than a month, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 7-2 on Sunday.
In beating Houston for the fourth time this season, the 40-year-old Colon became the first pitcher in AL history to win 15 games for four teams. He did it previously with the Indians, White Sox and Angels.
“I thought I had a great outing today,” said Colon, who struck out seven and walked one. “The only problem that I had was the first two guys. I was more concentrated right after that happened.”
Colon (15-6) gave up a single to leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar and a run-scoring double to Jose Altuve before settling in.
It’s the first time in five starts Colon has gone at least six innings. He was the Athletics’ most consistent pitcher through the first half of the season until tiring over the past month.
“After the first two hitters, it looked like that got his attention in a hurry,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Good movement, good location. A lot of good things came out of Bartolo’s outing for us today.”
Colon had not won since July 26, though the five-game winless streak was deceiving. He has allowed just one earned run in each of his last three starts, lowering his ERA to 2.85.
“I feel like I have more power than the last (few) outings,” Colon said.
Brett Anderson pitched the final three innings for Oakland for his third save.
The A’s won the final three games of the series after dropping the opener, and finished 8-2 on the homestand.
Seth Smith homered during a seven-run third inning, Brandon Moss had three hits and drove in two runs while Yoenis Cespedes added two hits and an RBI for the AL West-leading A’s.
Smith hit his eighth home run of the season to cap the third when the A’s did all of their scoring. The towering three-run shot to right field came off Astros emergency starter Lucas Harrell (6-16).
Harrell had been working out of the bullpen until he was pressed into duty when scheduled starter Paul Clemens was scratched about an hour before the game because of a blister on his right hand.
“When you pitch out of the bullpen, the one good thing about that is you come to the ballpark every day believing that you’re going to pitch,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “I don’t think the short notice had anything to do with his performance.”
Porter was ejected for the second time this series when he went out to talk to pitcher Erik Bedard in the bottom of the fifth.
Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt went out to the mound, and at some point he and Porter exchanged words. Porter remained on the field after getting tossed and continued to argue with Wendelstedt before heading to the clubhouse.
Most of the damage had been done by then.
Moss hit a two-run double off Harrell in the third, Cespedes added an RBI single and Daric Barton also knocked in a run before Smith’s home run made it 7-1.
Houston scored its other run in the seventh when Brandon Barnes singled in L.J. Hoes.
NOTES: Hoes was the only Astros player with multiple hits. … Cespedes is hitting .406 (13 for 32) in September. … Barnes has reached base in nine consecutive games for Houston. … Altuve leads the majors with 15 hits this month.