Sox waste strong effort by Axelrod in 3-0 loss
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon tossed a five-hitter a week after turning 40, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Friday night in a game that took only 2 hours, 14 minutes.
Colon (6-2) struck out three and walked none for his 11th career shutout. He has 34 complete games, third-most among active pitchers behind Roy Halladay (67) and CC Sabathia (35).
Jed Lowrie was the first baserunner for either team to reach second when he doubled against Dylan Axelrod (3-4) leading off the eighth inning. Axelrod had shutdown the A's through seven innings, surrendering only three harmless singles before Lowrie's double. Josh Reddick, in his first game since coming off the disabled list, followed with an RBI double off Matt Thornton, and Coco Crisp added a two-run single off reliever Jesse Crain to back Colon's stellar start.
It was Colon's first nine-inning shutout since leading the Yankees past the A's 5-0 on May 30, 2011. He also pitched a rain-shortened three-hitter over seven innings against Boston on April 23.
Colon, who received a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test last August and missed the playoffs for the AL West champions, looked as spry as ever on the mound at the Oakland Coliseum.
While the A's struggled at the plate, Colon continued to pound the strike zone and challenge hitters. He hasn't walked a batter in eight of his 11 starts this season.
For a while, it appeared the A's might not give him any support.
Axelrod retired his first eight batters until Eric Sogard's single to right. Then he set down the next 12 he faced before Seth Smith's two-out single in the seventh.
Axelrod and Colon each relied on their defense, too, for several spectacular plays.
Sogard backhanded a hard-hit grounder up the middle in the seventh and tossed the ball to shortstop Lowrie, who fired it to first to complete a double play. Lowrie led off the top of the inning with a deep fly to right field, where Alex Rios ran underneath the ball for a catch near the top of the wall.
Reddick showed off the defensive skills that won him a Gold Glove last year when he made a running basket catch near the foul line for the first out of the eighth. Then he followed with his first hit since coming back, easily the biggest of the night.
Axelrod, who had won his last three starts, was replaced by Matt Thornton following Reddick's double. He gave up four hits and struck out seven in seven-plus innings, walking slowly to the White Sox dugout afterward, sitting on the bench and putting his hands over his head.
• White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham made his second consecutive rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte. He went 1 for 5 and singled home the winning run in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win over Rochester.
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