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TEX@OAK: Colon dominates Rangers over eight innings

So what if Oakland's season-high five-game winning streak has come against the Rockies and Padres?

The cliche says "a win is a win," and, by that logic, if the streak helps the A's creep back into the AL playoff hunt, it won't matter that it came at the expense of the two worst teams in the NL West.

The A's look to make it two sweeps this week against the NL West's cellar dwellers when Bartolo Colon takes the ball against the Padres in Sunday's series finale. The A's are four games below .500 for the first time this month and are looking for their first sweep of the Padres since June 5-7, 1999.

Left-hander Clayton Richard (3-7, 4.30 ERA) gets the ball for San Diego, eying back-to-back road wins after having not won a game away from Petco Park since July 4.

He was very sharp against the Mariners in Seattle his last time out, tossing seven innings of one-run ball and raising his ground-ball rate to a career-high 52.7 percent.

"I've been able to keep them down in the strike zone more consistently," Richard said. "It's been the focus of a few side sessions that we've had recently."

Richard allowed seven home runs in his first seven starts but just three in his last six -- a sign he's been locating the ball much better.

He'll have to deal with Oakland left fielder Seth Smith, whose stats as an outfielder and as a designated hitter tell two very different tales.

All six of Smith's home runs have come as an outfielder, where he is hitting .338. But he has hit just .178 in his 23 games as a DH.

"He has to settle in and understand that there are going to be days he DH's," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's what we brought him in here to do. But he has been on a roll, and it seems like the numbers suggest he swings the bat better when he's in the outfield."

The right-handed Colon (6-6, 4.21 ERA) was hit hard by the Rockies on Tuesday but managed to earn the victory after giving up nine hits and three walks in five innings.

Colon has posted a 5.80 ERA in his past eight starts after notching a 2.53 mark in his first six.

Padres: Quentin's impact in lineup evident
• The return of outfielder Carlos Quentin from knee surgery has significantly boosted what was a sluggish Padres offense for most of the season's first two months.

When he returned on May 28, the Padres averaged just 3.08 runs per game with a .220 batting average. Since then, the club is averaging 4.25 runs with a .258 average.

Third baseman Chase Headley, who went on a 10-game hitting streak after Quentin returned, noted Quentin's bat changes the way other pitchers view the Padres lineup.

"Just in the small time I've hit in front of him, I can tell I have been pitched a little different than I was before," Headley said. "It's nice to have him in there. I think it sets the rest of the lineup a little better."

A's: Sogard recalled, Rosales to Triple-A
• The A's sent utilityman Adam Rosales to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled infielder Eric Sogard on Saturday. Originally called up to the A's on May 17, Rosales was hitting .167 in 24 at-bats.

"Those two, we really feel like both of them are part of the team, probably only one here at a time, and that's a difficult role to stay current and stay up to speed with your at-bats," Melvin said.

Sogard was hitting just .136 this season before being sent down May 21.

• The A's also sent down reliever Evan Scribner, making room for Saturday's starter, Tyson Ross. Scribner pitched two games for Oakland this season, tossing 4 1/3 hitless innings.

Worth noting
• Among Padres hitters, only Mark Kotsay and Quentin have ever faced Colon, who has spent nearly his entire career pitching in the American League. Kotsay has three hits in 20 at-bats against Colon, while Quentin has three hits -- one double -- in three at-bats.

• Kotsay, a former Athletic, is riding a 13-game hitting streak against his old club. In 15 games against Oakland, he is batting .367.

• The Padres are 5-3 in Interleague Play this season and need just three more wins to assure a finish of better than .500 against the American League. It would mark just the third time the Padres have done so -- the others coming in 1999 and 2010.

• The A's are 16-8 all-time against San Diego.

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