OAKLAND, Calif. — Bartolo Colon finally ran into a pitcher throwing just as well as him.
Colon tossed seven solid innings but the Oakland Athletics struggled against Matt Garza and lost 3-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
“I had a good outing but the other guy pitched well too,” Colon said. “I don’t worry about winning streaks. I just keep looking forward.”
Colon (11-3) gave up two runs and nine hits in his first loss since May 9. He was 8-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his previous nine starts, including a 5-0 mark with a 1.75 ERA in June that earned him the AL pitcher of the month award.
Garza (4-1) was just a little better.
The right-hander allowed one run and four hits over eight innings in his fourth consecutive quality start. He is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.90 ERA since yielding a season-high nine runs to the Cincinnati Reds on June 11.
“That’s as good as I’ve seen him in two years,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “That’s with seven lefties in the lineup. His command of the fastball down and away, he didn’t need to throw many breaking balls. He had extra velocity when he needed it and threw first pitch strikes.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he sees no difference in the way Colon has been pitching this year as compared to last season.
“It’s just different results,” Melvin said. “Once you get on a roll you start to feel that much more confident and the team has confidence in him. You see that in the results.”
Colon’s first wild pitch in over four years helped the Cubs score in the first. Starlin Castro singled with one out, advanced to second on the wild pitch and scored on Soriano’s single.
“I tried to make a good pitch to Soriano but I missed my location,” Colon said. “That’s why it hit the ground.”
Colon’s last wild pitch was on May 26, 2009, a span of 1,499 days and 443 innings.
A’s catcher John Jaso tried to take responsibility for it.
“It was a slider and it hit the heel of my glove,” Jaso said. “I felt like I was there but it took a bad carom. There was nobody who felt worse about it than me. I had to come up into the clubhouse to get away from everybody I was so mad at myself.”
Brandon Moss went deep for the Athletics, who had won five of six.
“It was a good matchup with two pitchers you expect to go deep into games,” Melvin said. “We had a tough time figuring out Garza.”
With the Cubs well off the pace in the NL Central, Garza could be one of the top targets for contenders looking for pitching help ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“Sure I love pitching in October,” Garza said. “I’d love to be pitching with this team in October. We’re scratching and clawing our way back into the toughest division.”
Moss connected for his 15th homer in the fourth.
NOTES: Colon is the A’s first pitcher of the month since Dan Haren in May 2007. ... A’s RHP Jarrod Parker (hamstring) had his start pushed back to Saturday. RHP Dan Straily (4-2, 5.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make Thursday’s start. ... The A’s drew a sellout crowd of 35,067 on fireworks night despite an ongoing BART strike.