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The Juice: Bartolo Colon overpowers Rangers as A’s lead in AL West reaches 5 1/2 games

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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The Oakland A’s continued putting distance between themselves and the slumping Texas Rangers with a 1-0 victory on Saturday. 40-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon was the force behind Oakland's win, scattering seven hits over eight scoreless innings. And each goose egg proved more important than the last, because Yu Darvish nearly matched him frame-for-frame. Over seven innings, Darvish only allowed a Brandon Moss RBI double in the first. He also struck out 10, and his frustration after the game was evident.

''I can't control it. I can't do anything about it. The only thing I can do is concentrate on the batter in front of me,'' Darvish said through an interpreter, insisting that he is not frustrated. ''As a pitcher, you can't control how many runs are scored. Am I going to go into the lineup and help the lineup? I can't.''

He can deny being frustrated, but there’s no way around it. He has good reason, too. With the loss on Saturday, Darvish became the tenth pitcher since 1916 to lose at least four 1-0 decisions in one season.

• Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his 38th save.

• Bartolo Colon is the first pitcher to win 20 career games against the Rangers.

• The Rangers are 0-5 on their current homestand, and 2-10 in September.

Back and forth: Seattle played the role of spoilers much more effectively on Saturday. Franklin Gutiérrez got Seattle off to a good start by knocking in two with a first inning double. Rookie left-hander James Paxton did most of the work from there, holding St. Louis off the scoreboard for six innings. Three Mariners relievers recorded the final nine outs to wrap up the 4-1 victory.

Round and round: The jostling for position continues. Pittsburgh moved back into a first place tie with St. Louis thanks to their 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. Gerrit Cole was the man on the hill, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. Jose Tabata and Marlon Byrd each added solo home runs to get Pittsburgh over the hump.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 1: Left-hander Jon Lester continued his resurgence with eight innings of one-run ball. Over his last 10 starts, Lester is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA.

''What he's done since the All Star break has been consistent with how he's started the season,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ''A well above-average pitcher, a front-line starter and that's what Jon Lester is.''

Reds 7, Brewers 3: The Reds keep pressure on the division leaders while adding to their wild card lead over Washington. Their wild card magic number is nine.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3: Another gut-wrenching one-run loss for Baltimore. Starter Chris Tillman served up the game-winning two-run homer to Colby Rasmus in the seventh.

Marlins 3-1, Mets 0-3: The teams split a day-night doubleheader. Henderson Alvarez was Miami’s Game 1 winner. Daisuke Matsuzaka won the nightcap for New York.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: A bases-clearing double by Carlos Ruiz helped Philadelphia snap Washington’s seven-game winning streak.

Royals 1, Tigers 0: A perfect Royals relay nailed Prince Fielder at the plate for the game’s final out.

Rays 7, Twins 0: Tampa Bay holds steady despite a lengthy rain delay in Minnesota. Matt Moore started and worked three full innings. Five Rays relievers combined to finish off the four-hitter.

Indians 8, White Sox 1: That’s 11 straight wins for Cleveland over the White Sox this season. It always helps when Ubaldo Jimenez is locked in.

Angels 6, Astros 2: On their first try, the Astros set a new AL record for team strikeouts with 1,388.

Braves 2, Padres 1: Atlanta lowers their magic number to four behind 7 1/3 shutout innings from Kris Medlen.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 2: Left-hander Wade Miley improved to 6-0 lifetime against Colorado.

Giants 19, Dodgers 3: San Francisco was without a grand slam this season until Hunter Pence delivered. Pence drove in seven. Brandon Belt knocked in six. I think Will Clark may have added one more in the ninth.

''It's not easy to make the playoffs, it sure isn't. Doing it last year was kind of an eye-opener on exactly how it's got to be done. It's a grind, it's a battle to make the playoffs.''

— Baltimore's Nate McLouth

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(USA Today)

The force was not with Detroit long enough.

• The Pirates announced they are shutting down left-handed Wandy Rodriguez for the season due to lingering pain in his throwing arm.

• Manny Machado is the first player to reach 50 doubles this season.

• Baltimore is 16-28 in one-run games this season. They went 29-9 in one-run games in 2012.

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