Colon, now 14-3, had thrown a shutout against the Angels his last time out, but Mike Trout put him in a two-run hole with a drive into the left field seats. It was just the second homer allowed by Colon in the first inning this season.
"You fall behind in the count, that's what's going to happen," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "You've got to pay for something when you fall behind."
Colon didn't pay an exorbitant price. He didn't allow another run, and he enlisted the offense of Lowrie and the defense of Coco Crisp to beat the Angels for the second time in a week.
Lowrie countered for the A's with a solo shot in the first, added a tiebreaking two-run single in the second and singled again in the third to end a long July drought. A .309 hitter at the end of June, the shortstop was at just .178 for July before his 3-for-4 night.
The homer was the eighth of the season for Lowrie, none of the first seven having come in the first inning.
"It was a fastball I was able to put a pretty good swing on," Lowrie said. "It was a big deal for us in terms of momentum."
He would add to that, most significantly in the second inning when his two-run, two-out single off Angels starter Jerome Williams broke a 2-all tie.
The second inning began with Josh Reddick blasting a double, and after Eric Sogard fouled off a bunt try with two out, he tied the game with a single to left-center. Crisp's single sent Sogard to third base, and Crisp promptly set up Lowrie with a steal of second.
Lowrie, who had been looking for a breakout game after his average dropped to .283, was able to lash a single between the first base bag and first baseman Mark Trumbo, and both Sogard and Crisp scored for a 4-2 Oakland lead.
"Lowrie has been really consistent for us all year," manager Bob Melvin said. "It goes against the grain for us to watch him struggle."
Crisp's contribution came in the third inning when Trout, one of the fastest players in the league, decided to tag up at first base on a deep fly to center by Albert Pujols. Normally it would have been no contest, Crisp having one of the weaker arms around, but this time "my arm was feeling pretty good." So was his inner GPS. He threw the ball on a direct line to the second base bag, the ball getting to second baseman Sogard on one hop, and Trout was, surprisingly, out.
"I was surprised," Crisp said.
Colon was both surprised and delighted.
"That was the key to the game," Colon said. "Everybody knows that Coco doesn't have the best arm, but he put the ball right on the bag."
The A's went on to add two more runs when Stephen Vogt, recalled Thursday to fill in while catcher John Jaso takes seven days on the disabled list to deal with concussion issues, clobbered his second homer of the season.
Oakland carried the four-run lead to the ninth, but Jerry Blevins walked both men he faced and was replaced by Grant Balfour. It was the first game for Balfour since his streak of 44 consecutive saves ended Tuesday.
He allowed a wild pitch and a two-out, two-run single by Pujols before striking out Josh Hamilton to end it.
The A's wound up being the only team in the American League West to win Friday, so they are a season-best four games up on the Rangers and 11 games ahead of both the Angels and the Mariners.
L.A. Angels (Garrett Richards 2-4) at A's (Tommy Milone 8-8), 12:05 p.m., FOX