Lowrie: 'I've been working hard to get timing and rhythm back'
Jed Lowrie homered with a first-inning solo shot and singled in two runs in the second inning. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Even as the middle of the A's batting order -- Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes -- suffered through a 1-for-11 night, the A's offense came to life.
Oakland came back from an early two-run deficit to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-4 Friday night as the A's pounded out 10 hits. It was their first double-digit hit game since they had 15 hits at Kansas City on July 7.
And again, the stopper was Bartolo Colon, who for the sixth straight time, followed an A's defeat with a victory.
Closer Grant Balfour, making his first appearance since his franchise-record 44-game save streak ended Tuesday, allowed two inherited runners to score on an Albert Pujols single but struck out Josh Hamilton on a full-count fastball to end the game.
And with Texas losing at Cleveland, the A's (60-43) opened up a season-high four-game advantage in the American League West over the Rangers while the Angels fell 11 games back. The A's trailed the Rangers by 7 1/2 games on May 16.
Starting pitching report
Bartolo Colon gave up two runs in the first nine pitches he threw, over two batters, but after that, not a darn thing. Colon improved to 14-3 and increased the likelihood of his name jumping up in Cy Young conversations after limiting the Angels to the two runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. It was the 16th straight start in which he allowed three runs or fewer, the 12th in 13 outings he gave up two runs or less. The 96 pitches he threw, coming off a season-high 116-pitch effort on Sunday, were his fewest since a 95-pitch outing on June 5.
Ryan Cook took a screaming line drive off his lower right leg from the bat of J.B. Shuck in the seventh, but was able to shake it off and work a scoreless inning. Sean Doolittle worked a scoreless eighth and Jerry Blevins was back to his old tricks, walking the two batters he faced before getting pulled. Grant Balfour then had some nervous time but closed it out for his 27th save.
At the plate
All Stephen Vogt does at the big league level is hit home runs…and sprinkle in the occasional single. The A's recently-called up catcher hit a two-run home run in the sixth and of his four career hits in the major leagues, two are homers. He began his career 0-for-32 but is now 4-43 after singling in the eighth. Jed Lowrie also homered, a first-inning solo shot, then singled in two runs in the second. He went 3-for-4. Josh Reddick had two hits, including a double, and scored two runs.
In the field
Let's just say that Coco Crisp's arm is not among the center fielder's strengths in the field. At least, that's what Mike Trout thought in the third inning. With no outs and Trout at first, Albert Pujols hit a towering fly ball to medium center, where Crisp camped out under it before the speedy Trout tagged up and went for second. Call it an upset -- Crisp's throw beat the head-first sliding Trout and Crisp had his first outfield assist since Sept. 12, 2012. Then there is the under-appreciated Eric Sogard, who made a pair of spectacular defensive plays at second base in the eighth, diving to his left to snag Alberto Callaspo's liner before bare-handing the throwing out Erick Aybar on his dribbler.
The A's announced a crowd of 27,429 at the O.co Coliseum, not a bad crowd considering the amount of "activities" going on in the Bay Area Friday night. The A's are now averaging 23,241 in attendance after averaging 20,729 last year.
Tweet o' da game
that's just a tad more than a season for Ricky Hendy. I miss real base stealers. -- @iamthayes, on Coco Crisp swiping his 136th base as a member of the A's and passing Jose Canseco for sixth on the Oakland Athletics career steals list.
Tommy Milone (8-8, 4.18 ERA) has been much better in Oakland than on the road in his two years in the bigs, going 11-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 23 starts at the Coliseum, as opposed to 10-11, 4.85 in in 28 road starts. The left-hander has faced the Angels five times in his career and is 3-2 with a 5.33 ERA. Garrett Richards (2-4, 4.66) will be making his first start since April 30 after being demoted to the bullpen. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in five career appearances, one start, against the A's.