OAKLAND -- Yes, it's time for the A's to worry about Bartolo Colon.
For the second straight start, Colon looked nothing like the dominantly efficient Cy Young Award candidate he was through the season's first four months. Five days after lasting a season-low 2 2/3 innings at Cincinnati, Colon could muster but four innings against Houston in a 5-4 loss to the lowly Astros.
Houston, which has the worst record in the major leagues at 38-80, snapped its season-high six-game losing streak. And it was just the second time in 13 games the Astros beat the A's.
The A's made it interesting with a three-run eighth inning, two coming on Yoenes Cespedes' two-run home run, and Oakland had to put Josh Donaldson at first base after Nate Freiman pinch-hit for Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp pinch-ran for Freiman.
Then, in the ninth, Chris Young appeared to hit a walk-off home run with Stephen Vogt at first, but replays showed the ball just missed the foul pole in left field. Young struck out on the next pitch to end the game.
Jordan Lyles (5-6) earned the victory for the Astros while Chia-Jen Lo earned his first career save in his sixth career appearance.
Consolation for Oakland? Texas lost at home to Milwaukee, so the A's (67-51) remained one game behind the Rangers in the American League West.
Starting pitching report
After allowing a total of eight earned runs in six July starts for an ERA of 1.74, Bartolo Colon has surrendered 10 earned runs in two August starts for a 13.50 ERA. Again, the 40-year-old right hander looked out of sorts, as the 34 pitches Colon threw in the second inning were a career high for him for any inning. He ended up throwing 77 pitches. At 154 1/3 innings, Colon (14-5) is just 11 innings away from his most innings pitched in a season since his Cy Young season of 2005.
Jesse Chavez impressed with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out five, walking one and giving up three hits, and Jerry Blevins added 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing one hit.
At the plate
Yoenis Cespedes' eighth-inning shot was his team-leading 19th homer of the season. He also singled in the second and doubled in the fourth. Josh Donaldson added a pair of hits, tripling off the right-field wall in the fifth and blooping a single to left in the seventh. Josh Reddick singled in a run in the eighth. The A's stranded six runners.
In the field
L.J. Hoes needs to call the O.P.D., because he was absolutely robbed by Eric Sogard. There was one out in the sixth inning and the Astros had a runner at first base when Hoes laced a shot up the middle that looked destined to be a double. Until Sogard stretched all 5 feet, 10 inches of himself to glove the line drive for the out. Sogard later robbed Brett Wallace in the seventh on a similar, though not as spectacular, play.
The A's announced a crowd of 14,261 at the O.co Coliseum, though it looked closer to 9,999…give or take a few Altuves.
Tweet o' da game
That's how old he looked trying to get to cover 1st. -- @gem3wood, on Bartolo Colon's pitch count of 70 after three innings, and how long it took him to cover first on Robbie Grossman's broken-bat grounder to first in the third.
Jarrod Parker (8-6, 4.04 ERA) is 6-0 with a 2.92 ERA and opponents are hitting .193 against him in his last 13 starts. The right-hander has faced the Astros once in his career, getting a no-decision in the A's 5-4 loss at Houston on July 23 after allowing to two runs, one earned, in seven innings. Jarred Cosart (1-0, 1.36) also received a no-decision in that game, giving up one earned run in seven innings in his lone appearance against the A's. He is the first Astros pitcher in franchise history to go at least six innings and allow one earned run or less in each of his first four big league starts.