Fun returns after Colon's eight shutout innings

August 3, 2012, 6:38 am
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OAKLAND -- When people are concerned over a two-game losing streak, you know you are playing well. After losing both post-trade deadline games, naturally the fan base and the media started trying to make a connection. The A's just ignore all that and try to go out and have fun. Nothing is more fun, apparently, than eight shutout innings from Bartolo Colon, who carved through the Blue Jays lineup like a succulent Thanksgiving turkey as the A's won the game 4-1. The crafty veteran's simplified approach and laid back demeanor have become stabilizing forces in the A's starting rotation. Oakland made a lot of moves this offseason, but signing Colon, who is in the twilight of his career, to a one-year deal might have been the most underrated one. "At this point in his career he is kind of smelling the roses a little bit and kind of enjoying the ride," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think at this point and time he is just having as much fan as he's ever had in his career. I think that rubs off on our younger guys and has a big affect on them."Whether Colon is pitching or not, he always carries himself the same way. He is very consistent on and off the mound. Colon is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his last six starts, and has walked one batter or less in his last seven. "There's nothing different," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I try to do the same thing every time I pitch. Just throw strikes." The A's rewarded their starting pitcher's strong effort with some much needed run support. The hits that did the most damage came from two hitters that were a combined 0-for-39 entering the day. Seth Smith who was stuck in an 0-for-18 slump drove in the first run with an RBI single. Josh Reddick who was in a career-worst 0-for-21 skid singled in his first at-bat, then cracked his 23rd homer deep to right field to give the A's a 3-0 lead in his next trip to the plate. "I know for the psyche that's big for him because he really hasn't been through a prolonged struggle this year at all," Melvin said of Reddick. "You could almost just see his spirits lift after he got the hit, and he put the best swing we've seen in a while on the home run."Reddick's homer was the A's 115th of the season -- matching their 2011 home run total. Some fatherly wisdom might have lead to the blast. "I went home last night had a long talk with Dad it seemed to work out," Reddick said. "I am glad he is here and that he was able to help. He said just be myself. His favorite line between him and my mother is, 'Be the kid in the backyard.' That's one thing that they preach about."The A's added a fourth run when Brandon Inge hit a bases loaded single in the seventh inning. His hit extended his hitting streak to an Oakland season-high 12 games. The A's win may have come at a cost though. Smith left the game after straining his left hamstring in the fifth inning. He will undergo an MRI on Friday. He said after the game that his hamstring was stiff and sore.NEWS: Smith to have MRI Friday
NOTES:- The A's will make a roster move prior to Friday's game because starting pitcher Dan Straily will be making his MLB debut. Straily leads all of professional baseball with 175 strikeouts and spent time before the game discussing his tough road to the majors in a one-on-one interview with me here. - Maybe Moneyball is back. Yoenis Cespedes drew a career-high three walks and Chris Carter who entered the game as a replacement for Smith drew his 15th walk since the All-Star break which is the second most in MLB in that span. - Cliff Pennington is expected to begin a rehab assignment in Sacramento with the River Cats on Friday.

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