Simply put, the early-game hole Bartolo Colon dug for the A's was simply too deep for Oakland to dig out of in Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon.
Colon spotted the Reds a 5-1 lead and while the A's climbed back to within a run and had the tying run at third with one out in the sixth inning, they could not get over the hump, falling 6-5.
A few positives for the A's to glean, though? Their heretofore slumbering offense awoke a bit, outhitting the Reds, 11-10. And they were 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position after entering the game a woeful 4-41 (.098) with RISP in their previous seven games, in which they had scored a total of 10 runs while stranding 45 runners on base.
The bad? Recent acquisition Alberto Callaspo left the game with an injury to his left forearm after a homeplate collision in which he was out.
The A's (64-49), who held a six-game lead on Texas eight days ago, are now just 1/2 a game in front of the Rangers, who play at the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday night.
Starting pitching report
Mounting questions about Bartolo Colon's staying power are gaining credibility. Colon lasted a season-low 2.2 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks. His stretch of 15 consecutive "quality starts," at least six innings pitched with three-or-fewer runs allowed, came to an inglorious end after just 67 pitches. Another concern for the 40-year-old? His velocity remained down again, his fastball barely hitting 91 mph.
Jesse Chavez, Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle steadied the ship after Colon's skittish start, the quartet combining to allow one run and three hits in 5.1 innings, though the run and hits were all on Chavez's line.
At the plate
Entering the day without an RBI since the All-Star break, Josh Donaldson drove in two runs and his an opposite field solo home run in the second inning for his first homer since July 14. Eric Sogard, who replaced the injured Alberto Callaspo in the home half of the fourth inning, extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a sixth-inning triple that scored two runs. Sogard later singled. He is hitting .383 with five doubles, a triple, one home run and nine RBI in his streak. Before leaving the game, Callaspo had a pair of doubles and Brandon Moss added two hits.
In the field
The fourth-inning collision at home plate not only cost the A's Alberto Callaspo, who left the game with a contusion on his left forearm, but also presumably Reds catcher Corky Miller, who departed with what was described as a contusion to his right quad.
The Reds announced a crowd of 29,746 at Great American Ball Park.
Tweet of the game
I like what you do but I don't think you should rewet negative things, it brings me down. Today is a new day. #athletics -- @ToddBrassfield
The A's enjoy a day of Thursday, their second in four days, and begin a four-game series at Toronto on Friday. The pitching matchups, then, even as the A's are undecided on Saturday's starter: Friday -- Jarrod Parker (7-6, 4.02 ERA) vs. Esmil Rogers (3-6, 4.61). Saturday -- TBA vs. Mark Buehrle (7-7, 4.41). Sunday -- A.J. Griffin (10-8, 3.91) vs. R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.45). Monday -- Dan Straily (6-6, 4.41) vs Josh Johnson (2-8, 6.20).