Click photo to enlarge
Chicago Cubs' Julio Borbon (20) slides safely into third on a triple after Oakland Athletics' Yoenis Cespedes (52) can't make the play in time at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND -- Bartolo Colon's eight-game winning streak for the A's came to an abrupt end Wednesday night as Matt Garza turned in one of the best games by an opposing starter at the Coliseum this season in pitching the Chicago Cubs to a 3-1 victory.

Garza, gifted with an early lead, helped to deny Colon what would have been a personal best ninth consecutive win.

The game turned on an otherwise innocuous wild pitch in the first inning. It came with Starlin Castro on first base. Once he got to second base, Alfonso Soriano looped a fly ball into no man's land in short center field, and the A's were behind, never to lead in this one.

"I was trying to make a good pitch to Soriano," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto of the pitch that bounced about 10 feet in front of John Jaso, then kicked off the catcher's glove and rolled toward the backstop. "I missed the location."

Jaso didn't quite see it that way. He could live with the wild pitch as long as it didn't cost his starting pitcher any runs. But once Soriano's looper fell and the first inning was over, Jaso was steaming.

"No one felt worse about that one than me," Jaso said. "I had to come up to the clubhouse and get away from everybody."

Colon, who earlier in the day was named American League Pitcher of the Month, had gone 443 games without throwing a wild pitch, which underscores his command of the strike zone. There was a certain irony when the once-in-a-blue-moon wild pitch proves so decisive.


Advertisement

"Bartolo's not the kind of guy who gives up runs in the first inning," Jaso said.

Once surrendered, it couldn't be taken back, and the A's would be behind the rest of the night as Garza limited them to four hits -- one of them a Brandon Moss homer in the fourth inning -- over his eight innings.

The A's got a runner to second base with one out in the sixth and to third base with two out in the eighth, but on neither occasion did Oakland break through against Garza. In the ninth against closer Kevin Gregg, Jaso walked with two out and stole second base before Gregg struck out Josh Reddick.

"Garza did a nice job," A's shortstop Jed Lowrie said. "It was one of those nights when he kept us off balance. We hit some balls hard, but we didn't have any luck."

The A's could have used a bit of luck in the third inning on defense. Chicago leadoff hitter Luis Valbuena hit a fly ball to the wall in right field. Gold Glover Reddick thought he had a bead on the ball, but it just cleared his glove on the leap. Once he was back on solid ground, Reddick slammed his glove into the wall in disgust.

"You could see how he felt by his reaction," manager Bob Melvin said of Reddick. "He timed it well."

Colon (11-3) hadn't lost a game since May 9, at which point the A's were four games out of first place en route to getting to a low point of 71/2 games behind the Texas Rangers before rallying. Even with the loss Wednesday, the A's head into the Fourth of July with a one-half game lead on Texas in the A.L. West.

  • Valbuena's homer was just the second in the last nine games off Colon, who had some trouble with the long ball earlier in the year before going on his current streak.

  • Jarrod Parker won't start for the A's on Thursday as originally scheduled but instead will give way to Dan Straily, who is being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Parker, whose status had been in doubt after coming out of Saturday's game with hamstring problems, threw on the side before Wednesday's game, seemed to be in good shape and will instead start Saturday in Kansas City. "We're going to give him a couple of extra days," Melvin said.

  • After going 0 for 3 with a walk Wednesday, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes has nine hits in his last 55 at-bats, a .164 average. Cespedes doesn't seem to be getting much respect for the 15 homers he has in 272 at-bats. Asked about the possible participation in the All-Star home run derby, he said he'd very much like to have that chance but as yet no one had approached him.

  • Jaso was back in the starting lineup as the A's catcher. He missed 10 starts (he had one pinch-hit appearance) after suffering an abrasion on the palm of his left hand. With Jaso healthy again, rookie catcher Stephen Vogt is likely to be sent to Sacramento to make room for Straily.

  • Pitcher Brett Anderson, still wearing a walking boot and using crutches, hopes to be done with that by Friday. Anderson, who has been trying to get healthy after a sprained right ankle was compounded by a stress fracture in the same foot, is due to be examined Friday. If he is cleared, he'd be able to start working toward a return in the second half of the season. He's been throwing on the side without using his legs to keep his arm strong.

    THURSDAY's game

    Chicago Cubs (Travis Wood 5-6) at A's (Dan Straily 4-2), 1:05 p.m. CSNCA