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OAK@LAA: Colon throws 38 consecutive strikes

ANAHEIM -- The A's aren't supposed to beat Ervin Santana -- not according to history.

But apparently newcomers Bartolo Colon and Yoenis Cespedes never got the memo on the Angels right-hander, who entered the day with 13 wins and a 2.00 ERA in 23 career games (21 starts) against the A's.

Cespedes needed to see just three pitches from Santana in the first inning, before depositing a 1-2 breaking ball into the left-field seats for a three-run homer, while Colon proved seemingly untouchable when his opponent wasn't on the mound, painting the zone with strike after strike -- 82, to be exact, including 38 in a row at one point -- while helping the A's to their second straight win, a 6-0 decision in Anaheim.

For Cespedes, it marked his team-leading fourth long ball of the season. For Colon, who threw 108 pitches through eight innings, it marked what's becoming just another typical performance -- though a string of 38 consecutive strikes, against a loaded Angels club no less, isn't exactly typical. And since at least 1988, it's the longest stretch recorded, as Tim Wakefield is the next closest with 30 in 1998.

"I've never seen anything remotely close," Jonny Gomes said.

So the A's left fielder, getting a start in place of an ill Coco Crisp, played "like I was behind a no-hitter."

"You can't even get 38 strikes out of a pitching machine," he said.

After throwing a first-pitch ball to Maicer Izturis in the fifth inning, Colon's next 11 batters saw nothing but strikes. It wasn't until the second pitch of Bobby Abreu's at-bat with one out and one on in the eighth inning did he record another ball.

All the while, A's manager Bob Melvin hadn't a clue about what had just taken place.

"Absolutely not," he said. "But phenomenal, yet really not surprising out of him. I think he could throw a strike with his eyes closed if he had to, the way he's been for us."

"I felt like I threw a lot of strikes, like I was in the zone a lot, but never did I know 38 in a row," Colon said.

The right-handed veteran hasn't allowed a run over his past two starts, spanning 15 innings. During that time, he's given up just seven hits, with only four coming Wednesday, and has struck out 10. Moreover, he extended his streak of consecutive starts with two walks or fewer to 18.

Colon simply throws strikes, too many even for his catcher to keep count.

"I can't believe it," Kurt Suzuki said. "Against a team like this? You look at their lineup and you see 38 strikes, that's going after guys. He's not afraid to throw strikes. That's what he did tonight, basically all heaters, too."

"His ball is sick," the Angels' Torii Hunter said. "I mean, his ball is moving like 30 inches. We could've done better, we should've done better in the game and at the plate, period. But I gotta tell you, I tip my hat to him. His ball was moving like crazy."

Colon has been the stabilizing force for an A's team that has secured itself at least a split of a four-game series against the Angels, who have surprisingly stumbled to a 4-8 start. Santana, who gave up four runs in seven innings, was dealt his third straight loss.

On the other side, Gomes also homered -- all three of his hits this year have been home runs -- for the A's, who have 12 home runs in 13 games. Last year, they needed 27 games to get to 12 home runs.

Oakland added two in the ninth inning against right-hander Jordan Walden, who surrendered an RBI double to Jemile Weeks and walked in a run, only further extending a lead Colon never planned on losing.

"You give a guy like that a lead, and he knows what to do with it," Melvin said. "Granted they have a great lineup and you can never take a breather with it, but a guy like that who's been around long enough to know, you're going to throw strikes, try not to walk anybody, you're going to make them hit their way, earn their way on, and certainly that's what they did."

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