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Cubs 3, A's 1

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Matt Garza outdueled reigning American League Pitcher of the Month Bartolo Colon as the Chicago Cubs kept alive their hopes of winning a fourth consecutive series by beating the Oakland Athletics 3-1 Wednesday night.

In running their interleague record to 11-5, the Cubs got a third-inning home run from Luis Valbuena and RBI hits from Alfonso Soriano and Brian Bogusevic en route to their 19th road win of the season. Chicago had only 23 victories away from Wrigley Field all of last year.

The A's, who rallied late to win Tuesday's series opener 8-7, fell to 10-4 in interleague play. They nonetheless retained first place in the AL West by a half-game as the Texas Rangers also lost, 4-2 in 10 innings to the Seattle Mariners.

Garza (4-1), who actually outpitched Colon (11-3) over their last three starts in June, made it four in a row by limiting the A's to one run and four hits over eight innings. He walked three and struck out five before turning the ball over to closer Kevin Gregg for the ninth inning.

The only run allowed by Garza came on Brandon Moss' solo home run to right field in the fourth inning. It was Moss' 15th homer of the season.

Gregg recorded his 14th save in 15 tries, surviving a two-out walk to John Jaso to pitch a hitless and scoreless ninth.

Soriano's two-out, RBI single in the first inning and Valbuena's homer, his seventh, in the third provided Garza with the only runs he needed.

Garza, the new focus of Cubs trade talks after they dealt starter Scott Feldman on Tuesday, allowed only two runs in his previous three starts, four fewer than Colon, who was finishing up a 5-0 month that earned him the AL award.

Colon was coming off a six-hit effort over eight innings in a 6-1 victory over the Cardinals last Friday. However, he wasn't as sharp this time around, watching the Cubs score twice and bang out nine hits in his seven innings.

The loss was the 40-year-old's first since May 9 against Cleveland. He had won his previous eight starts, equaling the longest winning streak of his career.

Colon didn't strike out a batter for the second time this season, and he walked just one. He was good when he needed to be, twice stranding Cubs at third base following triples.

The second of the triples -- a one-out slicing liner down the left-field line by Julio Borbon in the seventh -- nearly led to the end of Colon's night. But after a two-out walk to Starlin Castro and with left-hander Sean Doolittle ready in the bullpen, A's manager Bob Melvin elected to stick with his ace after a visit to the mound. Melvin's confidence was rewarded when Colon got lefty-swinging Nate Schierholtz to fly to left field to end the threat.

As it turns out, that was Colon's last pitch. He left trailing 2-1 after seven innings, a deficit that became 3-1 in the eighth when consecutive two-out doubles by Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic off Doolittle produced an insurance run.

The Cubs out-hit the A's 12-4.

NOTES: The game attracted Oakland's eighth sellout of the season -- 35,007 -- on fireworks night. ... The A's have decided to give Thursday's scheduled starter, RHP Jarrod Parker, two additional days to rest a sore right hamstring, pushing him back to face the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Parker will be replaced in Thursday's series finale against the Cubs by RHP Dan Straily, who will be promoted from Triple-A Sacramento before the game. ... The AL Pitcher of the Month Award for Colon was his first since August 2005, a season in which he went on to win the AL Cy Young Award for the Los Angeles Angels. ... Before Colon, the last A's pitcher to earn AL Pitcher of the Month honors was Dan Haren in May 2007. ... RHP Pedro Strop and RHP Matt Guerrier, two relievers, were in uniform for the Cubs after having been acquired in trades Tuesday. ... RHP Jake Arrieta, projected to be a future mainstay in the Cubs' rotation, was sent to Triple-A Iowa following his acquisition Tuesday from the Baltimore Orioles. ... To make room for Strop and Guerrier on the roster, the Cubs sent Tuesday's emergency starter, LHP Chris Rusin, back to Triple-A Iowa and designated reliever RHP Shawn Camp for assignment.
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